In winter, with the occurrence of bad weather and snow, the formation of ice on roads can become a serious problem for traffic and general safety.
As a rule, roads in built-up areas are the property of the local municipal council. It is therefore the responsibility of the municipal council to equip itself, when required, with suitable means for clearing snow.
However, in smaller towns (with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants), this does not often occur. More often than not, the mayor prefers to avoid these obligations and entrust private individuals with the task. Hence, in such cases, according to Article 14, paragraph 1 of the Italian Highway Code, the clearing of streets and pavements is the responsibility of the respective owners.
Only in particularly severe or unforeseeable cases, such as an exceptional weather event with heavy and continuous precipitation, can the municipal council decide to issue an ordinance requiring private individuals (i.e. the owners of properties facing onto the street) to clear snow, so as to avoid danger to property and people.
A special licence may be required for some snow-clearing vehicles. The licence is a document that gives authorisation to drive a given vehicle after having met all the necessary requirements by attending specific courses. There are two types of licence: for salt spreaders and for snowploughs.
Salt spreaders are vehicles designed to spread salt on road surfaces in order to limit the formation of ice, thus ensuring safety on roads. To obtain this licence you usually need to attend a course of lessons (in which legal-regulatory, theory and practical modules are covered in depth), concluding with a theory examination.
Snowploughs, on the other hand, are vehicles used during the winter season to ensure the proper clearing of roads and are divided into two sub-categories: operating machines specifically designed for this purpose, and vehicles that are adapted to perform this task.
Routine maintenance of snowploughs and salt spreaders involves a regular check of vehicle components in order to ensure maximum mechanical efficiency. It’s necessary to carry out these operations to prevent eventual failures and malfunctioning that would then require supplementary maintenance. To prove that all operations have been carried out, however, it’s necessary to have a logbook in which all checks carried out before and after the season and all start-up tests, with their results, are recorded.
Supplementary maintenance, on the other hand, is not required as often as routine maintenance. Supplementary maintenance concerns non-periodic events and is necessary for updating the vehicle to reduce its degree of obsolescence.