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When Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. runs for reelection in less than two years, he’ll be touting his work on snow-free automobiles. This week the D.C. Council approved his proposal to allow the cops to pull over motorists who’ve failed to clear snow and ice from their vehicles, though the law at this point doesn’t authorize any penalties.
Thomas told the Washington Post: “It’s a common sense issue. Snow flies off and hits someone else. . . . When it snows, the safety rules go out the window.” According to the Post, a woman was killed in Pennsylvania in 2005 when a big chunk of ice hit her windshield.
Safety always comes first. A couple of caveats, however: This’ll be a great pretext for bad cops who just want to mess with someone whose car they don’t like. Sir, were you aware that your car had snow on it? they’ll say to some sad sack.
My second thought: My dad would’ve been screwed if the police in my hometown of Schenectady, N.Y. had had such a regulation in place. After deep snowfalls—12-inchers, even—Pop would walk out of the house, approach his Chevy Monte Carlo, clear a tiny hole on the driver’s side of the windshield, then get in and drive on down Van Antwerp Road. If some snow fell off the driver’s side door when he closed it, then fine. But he’d never clear more than a six-inch by six-inch window space for the drive to his office.
Now, Schenectady County is no D.C.: Pedestrians are few, so Pop merely had to look out for the oncoming traffic, and perhaps the McGarry’s dog, Fresca.
But if the local cops been empowered to bust snowy cars, Pop would’ve been nailed before he got to Balltown Road!