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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Scrape and drive, or risk penalties

Driving with snowed-covered windows  can now cost motorists in Norway their driver’s license.  This winter police have seized a large number of licenses and handed out fines of  NOK 4,000 (USD 700) or more to motorists who fail to scrape away snow and ice.

The driver of this car has a lot of work to do before heading into traffic. PHOTO: Views and News

“Most people know that they’re supposed to have a clear view, but many are surprised by the size of the fine,” Runar Karlsen, the head of the Utrykningspolitiet, equivalent to the Highway Patrol, told newspaper Aftenposten.

Drivers who have not taken the time to scrape the ice off their windshields and side-windows have had their licenses taken away for three months and been fined NOK 5,000 and up. The majority have to leave their car by the side of the road as their licenses are seized by police on the spot. Lesser infractions usually result in fines of NOK 3,000- 4,000, according to Karlsen.

Police officers interviewed by Aftenposten say they stop the most drivers with icy windscreens near schools. Parents drive their children to school without clearing their windscreens first.

“On roads near schools and in residential areas it’s particularly important for motorists to have a clear view in all directions,” says Karlsen.

A recent story on Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK)’s evening news showed a police officer who was almost run over by a car with restricted visibility. The driver could not even see the police checkpoint and drove on. He was immediately stopped and lost his license on the spot.

How much of the windshield has to be clear to avoid a fine? “There’s no absolute definition, but the rule of thumb the police use is that the area covered by the windscreen wipers should be free,” says Karlsen.

Views and News from Norway/Sven Goll
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