Saturday, February 08, 2014

Snow Law Update: Driving with Accumulated Snow

Some of us are still digging out from the two "snow days" earlier this week.  Have you ever wondered if anything could be done (legally, of course), about those drivers flying down the highway the day after a storm with mounds of snow still burying their hood, top, and most of the windows?  Drivers of cars and trucks who leave this snow and ice to dislodge and crash into other people's windshields, blocking visibility and causing distraction, damage, and sometimes personal injury? For an increasing number of states, the answer is yes--pass a law.

In New Jersey, for example, a Motor Vehicles and Traffic Regulation statute (39:4-77.1) imposes an affirmative duty "to make all reasonable efforts to remove accumulated ice or snow from exposed surfaces of the motor vehicle prior to operation."  If a law enforcement officer believes that the accumulation poses "a threat to persons or property," the driver may be stopped and incur a fine of between $25 and $75. If the dislodged snow or ice actually "strikes another vehicle or pedestrian causing injury or property damage," fines increase to $200 to $1000 for cars, with higher penalties for commercial vehicles. In Connecticut, a law with very similar provisions went into effect on the last day of 2013.

What about New York?  Two bills have been introduced in both the New York Assembly and Senate during the current legislative session.  Assembly Bill 3687/Senate Bill 395 would impose steeper fines than either New Jersey or Connecticut for operating such a vehicle on a "public street or highway" more than three hours after the "snow, sleet or hail" stopped falling.  Assembly Bill 4680/Senate Bill 841 has similar provisions, with increased penalties for causing physical injury or property damage. The text of both bills can be read at the New York State Legislature's public information site.  

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Friday, February 07, 2014

Digital Public Library at your service

Since I last visited in May, the Digital Public Library has expanded considerably.   It "offers a single point of access to millions of items—photographs, manuscripts, books, sounds, moving images, and more—from libraries, archives, and museums around the United States. Users can browse and search the DPLA’s collections by timeline, map, format, and topic; save items to customized lists; and share their lists with others. Users can also explore digital exhibitions curated by the DPLA ..."

In addition to making available online offerings of  libraries across the world, the DPLA provides a platform for innovative apps.  Thanks to the DPLA, I have  dusted off my Twitter account to check out and follow "Historical Cats"@HistoricalCats .

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Thursday, February 06, 2014

New York City Mayor Drops Stop-And-Frisk Appeal

Newly elected New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has dropped former Mayor Michael Bloomberg's appeal of the adverse decision concerning the City's controversial stop-and-frisk law enforcement program. Read more here.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Law Library Closed

Due to worsening weather conditions, the University will be closed on Wednesday, February 5.  (Please note that this is a change from a previously announced late opening).  The law library will be accessible to law students and faculty via swipe access.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Monday, February 03, 2014

Law Library Closed

Due to weather conditions, the University is closed today, Wednesday, February 2, 2014. The law library is open for law student and faculty swipe access only.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Oldest Law Firms in the United States

Did you ever wonder what is the oldest law firm in America?  The ABA Journal recently published an article highlighting the oldest firms in the U.S.  According to their research, Rawle & Henderson in Philadelphia is the oldest going back to almost when the nation was born.  Click here to learn more about the history of this firm and other older firms discussed in the article.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat