The Liability Avalanche That’s Looming Above Your Head

Bob Glover

Bob Glover

December, 2023

We too often limit safety, efficiency, profitability, and productivity to what happens within our four walls. The fact is these things matter even after product leaves your facility. There’s a huge conversation you could be missing out on because it may be out of sight, out of mind, and quite literally over your head. Snow and ice sitting on top of a semi-trailer creates dangers at your facility and beyond. Luckily, you can mitigate these dangers with a rooftop snow removal system by Scraper Systems. 

If you take safety, cost savings, productivity, brand protection, and legal liability seriously, you’ll read on to see how RDC can help you in these areas beyond the four walls of your facility.

Safety – Maintaining Safety After Product Leaves Your Facility

When snow isn’t removed from truck and trailer rooftops, thawing, and freezing can create a solid ice block that threatens drivers following behind or around your trailers. When this ice dislodges, it turns into an “ice missile” which can cause accidents, injuries, or fatalities for motorists on the road.

Ice Missile Damage

Your job is to safely deliver your product into the hands of your customers. That means doing all you can from manufacturing right down to delivery. An effective means of this protection is leveraging a Scraper System at your facility.

Cost Savings – Fuel Savings, Fines, and Violations

Transportation managers across North America spend millions of dollars annually to optimize their fleets’ mileage. Driving with snow and ice on truck and trailer rooftops can undermine their efforts.

  • For every 1,000-lb. (450 kg) increase in vehicle weight, fuel economy decreases by approximately 0.5 percent.
  • Just 6 inches (15 centimeters) of wet, heavy snow atop a 53′ trailer can add over 4,730 lbs. (2,145 kg) of excess weight – potentially decreasing fleet fuel economy by 2.5%.

Fleet managers have long implemented solutions like capping driving speeds and using side skirts and boat tails to conserve fuel and improve aerodynamics. But they often overlook rooftop snow as a source of added drag, weight, and height to every vehicle in their fleet – rooftop snow that can be cleared quickly and easily with Scraper Systems by Rite-Hite.

Truck Entering Scraper System

Additionally, companies and drivers are mandated by law to operate commercial motor vehicles in a safe manner, and when they don’t, both drivers and fleet owners can be subject to fines and violations. Some states have laws specifically written for snow removal from vehicle roofs. Others have legislation regulating travel with excess weight and unsecured loads, and not clearing snow off trailers, trucks, and buses can land a driver or fleet owner in violation.

Fines can range from $75-$1,500 per incident and could include additional penalties. These costs are avoidable if you’re prepared with a Scraper System.

Productivity – Prevent Scheduling Nightmares

Just one snowfall can send a transportation facility into a scheduling nightmare – reworking loads, re-scheduling deliveries, re-communicating to check and double-check delivery plans. Upgrading to an automated snow-clearing system can help speed up the snow removal process to get your vehicles out quickly and safely after a snowstorm.

Scraper System Activation
Brand Protection – Damage to a Company’s Brand

When your product is in transport, your brand is on display. Snow and ice blowing off your trailer roofs is not the look you want to convey to your audience. When accidents involve a fleet’s vehicle, the company becomes the face of the tragedy. Failing to clear snow from a rooftop will likely result in the kind of publicity you don’t want associated with your company’s brand. Go on the offensive and use a Scraper System to make sure your trailers are free and clear of snow and ice before they leave or enter your property.

Legal/Liability – Legislative Fines and Lawsuits

Tragedy caused by dislodging snow or ice can be extremely time-consuming and expensive. These incidents and lawsuits have led legislators to create stricter snow laws for vehicles across the country. Jessica’s Law in New Hampshire is one example of strong legislation for bus, truck, and tractor trailer snow removal systems that was initiated by the death of an individual hit by flying snow from a commercial vehicle.

Trucks on Snowy Interstate

Similar legislation has passed or is pending in other states, and we’ve compiled a more detailed look at snow laws across North America.

The cost of a snow/ice tragedy to a company is high… but the cost to an impacted family is immeasurable. Do your part before tragedy strikes.

Conclusion

Snow and ice related accidents are avoidable, and cost savings are attainable. All you have to do is be ready. Watch the video below to find out which Scraper System application is right for your facility!

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