Tuesday January 17, 2017

Did You Know That Snow on Your Car is an "Unsecured Load"?

Authored by: David S.R. Parker Posted in: Personal Injury

Are you someone who does not normally clear off the top of your vehicle before driving?  Have you ever driven a vehicle so covered with snow it flies off the roof and hits the vehicles behind? If so, you should be aware of the costly consequences that you may face.           

An unlucky driver in Winnipeg recently received a hefty $237.50 fine for failing to remove about 7-10 cm of snow from the top of his van before driving on a roadway.  He was stopped and charged under the “Cargo Securement Regulation” of the Manitoba Highway Traffic Act, which requires that “cargo” being transported by a vehicle must be secured so that it cannot be dislodged.  The explanation for the charge given by the police was that the regulation applies to anything on a vehicle that could potentially fall or fly off and become a hazard to following drivers.

In Nova Scotia, the Securing Loads on Vehicles Regulation (NS Reg 226/2006 – under the provisions of the NS Motor Vehicle Act) has a similar provision.  It requires that all “loads” (defined as “cargo” which means “…all articles or material carried by a vehicle”) must be secured in compliance with the regulation.  No specific mention is made of “snow”, but section 7 applies to any load consisting of “light weight or fine particulars that are loosely packed” and requires it to be covered with tarpaulin or other covering.  Therefore, unless you remove all the snow from your vehicle, you are technically in breach of this regulation.

The regulation also requires drivers to periodically inspect the load while in transit- so if you see drivers standing beside their vehicles staring at the snow piled on the roof of their vehicle- you now know exactly what they are doing!

In Nova Scotia, breach of such a regulation (Category C offence) can result in a fine of $100 (first offence), $200 (second offence) and $400 (third offence).  To avoid these charges, remember to always clear the snow from your car.

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