With snow frequently in Southcentral Alaska's forecast, Anchorage police say clearing cars of snow, ice and frost can help drivers avoid accidents -- as well as penalties attached to local laws requiring people to do so.
City ordinances require drivers to have a clear view from all of their vehicles' windows -- including front, back and side windows as well as rear-view mirrors. If police catch a driver operating a snowy car on local roads, it could result in a $60 fine.
APD officials also remind people that cars' license plates and running lights should be visible to other drivers.
Failure to slow down and move over to the far lane when passing a police vehicle with its lights flashing can result in a $150 ticket, with two points taken off a driver’s license. If there is an injury during the incident, the driver could be arrested.
“We have had officers nearly killed because people drive with what people think is the speed limit, and they are literally within inches passing the officer as they are talking or trying to deal with individuals on the side of the road,” said Lt. Garry Gilliam, commander of APD's Community Action Policing team.
Gilliam also encourages drivers to be aware of other vehicles that are violating these rules, and call 911 under its Report Every Dangerous Driver Immediately program.
“If you create a hazard driving down the road, we would expect another citizen to give a REDDI report,” Gilliam said.
Another cause of concern for police is people who leave their cars unattended, while the keys are in the ignition without a vehicle theft device. APD officials say it's against city law to do so, and that people should not allow an unattended motor vehicle to idle for more than 20 minutes.
Homeowners who push snow from private property onto city streets and sidewalks could also be hit with a $75 fine.