When it comes to ice and snow removal, Massachusetts residents can’t afford to wait until it’s too late. The state has laws regarding snow and ice removal and fines if you don’t do it. Here’s a guide on what to do and when during a blizzard:
Property owners can be held liable for a failure to remove snow and ice
It used to be that property owners were not responsible for removing ice and snow from walkways and parking lots. That is no longer the case, though. In Massachusetts, property owners are legally responsible for clearing snow and removing ice from sidewalks and parking lots, and can be held responsible if someone slips and falls due to the accumulation. Massachusetts has laws regarding snow removal, and failing to do so can result in injury or death.
There are many potential cases where a property owner can be held liable for the injuries caused by ice on a sidewalk. While property owners are not required to remove snow and ice from their sidewalks during a snowstorm, they must clear them as it accumulates. If you are a single-family property owner, your duty of care is to keep walkways and driveways clear of snow and ice. This includes ice melt and salt. It is important to begin clearing sidewalks and driveways early in a snowstorm, and monitor ice accumulations after a snowfall. Know more about Snow Removal Services Massachusetts Massachusetts here.
While Massachusetts laws are relatively lax when it comes to property owners’ liability for a failure to remove snow and icy walkways, many landlords still require tenants to do their part. This is because the landlords have a duty to keep exterior stairways and means of egress in good condition, and a landlord cannot avoid these obligations through a lease.
Fines for improperly removing snow and ice
If you fail to clear your sidewalks and driveways of snow and ice on a daily basis, you could be subject to a fine of $50 to $150. In addition, snow and ice that comes off private property can be dumped on public sidewalks and streets and result in a lawsuit. If you fail to remove snow and ice, you risk falling and incurring a fine.
Although box truck and semi truck operators get more scrutiny for improperly clearing snow and ice, all drivers are subject to fines for the same infraction. Even a small piece of ice can be a deadly projectile at highway speeds. According to state law, if you fail to clear your windshield, the law also allows police to issue a citation for improperly clearing snow and ice on your property.
In addition to the fines for improperly removing snow and icicles, landlords and tenants are responsible for keeping walkways clear of snow and ice. If they do not, they can be held liable for any injuries caused by ice and snow. For example, in Massachusetts, landlords must ensure that exterior stairways, balconies and bridges are clear of ice and snow.
Timeline for snow and ice removal during a blizzard
A blizzard warning is in effect for the Eastern part of Massachusetts, including Boston and surrounding towns, as well as parts of New Hampshire and Maine. The region will experience between two and four feet of snow. The city has seen heavy snowstorms before, but this storm may be the most significant in recent memory. In fact, it could be the biggest one to hit Beantown in January. While Boston is likely to see the most snowfall of the winter, areas in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Portland, Maine will also experience a similar amount.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is preparing to deploy approximately 3,900 pieces of equipment to clear roadways. The snowfall rate is expected to range from two to four inches per hour, and officials encourage residents not to drive and use mass transit if possible. The MBTA has suspended service on its Mattapan line to prevent damage. However, buses will provide substitute service. Additionally, commuter rail will run on a regular weekend schedule.
AccuWeather forecasters have advised residents and motorists to avoid travel during the storm. Heavy snowfall rates are expected to range from two to four inches per hour. Additionally, drifts and blowing snow could reach several feet in open areas. The blizzard’s duration is expected to last between eight and twelve hours. Those who do venture outside risk becoming stranded and stuck in their cars.