Finger on the Weather

Oh say, can you see?

When the 19-year-old woman went for a drive in Sterling on the first Monday of the year, she didn’t bother to clear the back window of her snow-covered car.

She didn’t clear any side windows, either.

In fact, the only space she did clear was a narrow rectangle right in front of the steering wheel. Her sight lines were so limited, Sterling Police Chief Mary Kendrick said, she couldn’t even see the flashing lights of the patrol car trying to pull her over.

She was given a traffic citation for not clearing her windows before driving.

A photo of the woman’s car prompted more than 100 comments and has been shared nearly 600 times on Facebook.

“About time someone is ticketed for this stupidity,” one commenter said. “I see at least one car like this every time it snows.”

With several weeks of winter yet to come, law enforcement officials say it’s no small matter to clear windows of ice and snow. The driver Monday night had a passenger, Kendrick said, so she was placing two lives at great risk.

Kendrick recalled a serious collision in Sterling a few years ago when a young driver didn’t bother to properly scrape ice from the windows of the vehicle he was driving. He couldn’t see and pulled out in front of traffic on a primary street in Sterling.

Two vehicles were totaled, though no one was killed.

“You need to clean all your windows,” Kendrick said.

Drivers in Wichita need to do that, too, or they could be ticketed, said Lt. James Espinoza, spokesman for the Wichita Police Department. A city ordinance mandates that the driver have an unobstructed view to the front and the sides of the vehicle, said Jay Hinkel, deputy city attorney for Wichita.

Between Jan. 1, 2012, and the end of 2014, Wichita police ticketed motorists 43 times for failing to keep their windshields clear and 35 times for having obscured windshields, a police department count of citations shows.

The most citations — 34 — were issued in 2013.

Contributing: Amy Renee Leiker of The Eagle

Reach Stan Finger at 316-268-6437 or sfinger@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @StanFinger.

Obstructed-view citations issued by the Wichita Police Department between 2012 and 2014

Charge

2012

2013

2014

Windshield to remain clear

14

19

10

Windshield obscured

9

15

11

Total per year:

23

34

21

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