On Feb. 14, a Marshfield Police Department detective noticed a vehicle driving left of the centerline in city limits. At 9:20 a.m., patrol officer Rochley Gross located the vehicle on Upham Street. Snow covered much of the windshield, preventing the driver from being able to adequately see the road.
The Marshfield male was cited under statute 346.88(4)(4) which states that “The windshield, side wings and side and rear windows of a motor vehicle shall be kept reasonably clean at all times.”
Alcohol and substances were not a factor. The driver was reportedly on his way to an appointment and had failed to clean off his windshield.
While windows don’t have to be perfectly clear of snow, not cleaning them off properly can lead to other citations as a result.
“That car was actually violating some other laws by not being able to see by operating left of center, so there’s other statutes that can come into play too,” said Assistant Chief Patrick Zeps.
License plates should also be cleared off so they can be read. Since drivers rely on back windows for safe lane changes and checking blind spots, police recommend taking the time to clear all windows.
Like with other enforcement actions, the goal with a citation is to change behavior. The possibility of a citation for an unclean windshield depends on the severity of the offense.
“If somebody’s operating out there and it’s egregious, like this individual today where this is obviously not safe, they’ll get a citation, but typically there’s going to be some discretion on the officer’s part with that,” explained Zeps.
A driver may get a warning in more moderate circumstances.