At the Nov. 28 Franklin County Traffic Safety Board meeting, it was brought to the board’s attention that, as many residents and private snowplow operators plow driveways, they are illegally leaving snow on roadways.
Not only does this practice cause our state, county, town and village snowplows to unnecessarily re-plow the roads, it is in violation of Vehicle and Traffic Law section 1219 (a) which prohibits any person from plowing, shoveling or blowing snow into any street, road or highway.
Section 1219 (b) stipulates that anyone who places or permits to be placed upon any highway any material that interferes with the safe use of the highway, including snow, shall immediately remove it or cause it to be removed.
This means that, if you are a homeowner who hires someone to plow your driveway, if you permit him or her to plow the snow into the road, or are aware that it is happening, you could also be cited under this law.
Penalties for a first offense for either of the violations include up to a $150 fine and/or 15 days in jail, plus applicable surcharges.
Representation at this recent Traffic Safety Board meeting included enforcement officers from State Police and other agencies.
They listened to the complaint from a highway superintendent describing the numerous violations.
This practice can be dangerous to other drivers — that’s why it is prohibited. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes tickets and fines to achieve compliance.
Another area of concern is plowing snow from driveways and parking lots onto sidewalks.
All of our Franklin County villages have laws or codes that require sidewalks to be cleared of snow. These laws are rarely enforced (though the City of Plattsburgh's requirement that property owners do so has long been an issue), but the practice of putting even more snow from driveways and parking lots onto adjacent sidewalks should not be permitted.
So, a word to the wise — the problem has been identified and enforcement has heard the complaint.
Even if the easiest way to rid your driveway, parking lot or sidewalk of snow is to put it into the street or road and hope the next pass of the plow will take care of it, take note of this law and find another place to put the snow.
— Dave Werner is vice chairman of the Franklin County Traffic Safety Board.