Thursday, April 21, 2016 04:45 PM
SPRINGFIELD– It sounds like a weapon used in a James Bond film: ice missiles. But they are real, deadly and the target of a legislative proposal from Senator Ira I. Silverstein (D-Chicago) to prevent them and to penalize those who cause them. In spite of the statistics on the dangers ice missiles present to motorists, the Senate Transportation Committee did not approve the proposal.
An ice missile is a large chunk of ice or snow that flies off a large truck on the highway. Many Illinois drivers have seen this occur and may have wondered what could happen if the split-second fall of ice were to hit another vehicle.
Sen. Silverstein’s proposal in Senate Bill 634 would require a person operating a vehicle weighing more than 8,000 pounds to remove ice and snow that poses a safety threat to other vehicles and drivers. Nearly 100 deaths and thousands of accidents happen each year.
“Each year in Illinois, we are almost guaranteed several days of winter weather that create these hazardous conditions, enough to warrant a change to the state vehicle code to protect drivers from this risk,” Silverstein said. “I believe it is reasonable to ask truck drivers who use Illinois roads for commerce to make an effort to protect motorists by clearing ice and snow from their trucks. With this bill failing in committee, I fear this kind of accident may happen again.
The legislation met with strong opposition from the Illinois Trucking Association, Midwest Truckers, National Waste and Recycling Association and Illinois Coal Association.
Pete Morano joined Sen. Silverstein in Springfield to tell his story to the Senate Transportation Committee. His injuries from an ice missile incident in 2010 left him without vision in his left eye after three surgeries to rebuild his face. Pete wants to prevent other families from the losses his family and the Stutson family have suffered.
“I understand their concerns and appreciate their willingness to tell their stories and advocate for change to prevent future ice missile accidents,” Silverstein said. “I know of manufacturers and motor carriers that offer a variety of snow-removal systems, and I do not believe this would be a burden on the trucking industry.”
Senator Ira I. Silverstein
Majority Caucus Chair
Years served: 1999 - Present
Committee assignments: Executive (Vice Chairperson); Executive Appointments; Financial Institutions; Gaming; Judiciary; Revenue.
Biography: Attorney; Degrees from Loyola University in 1982 and John Marshall Law School in 1985; past President of the Northtown Community Council; board member of the Korean Senior Center; member of the Greek Pan-Hellenic Laconian organization; Director of the Bernard Horwich JCC; married (wife, Debra), has four children.