Choosing to participate in THON is a wonderful decision, and participating in a canning trip is a fantastic way to help FTK, and to have a great time! When canning, it is very important to be safe, and to obey all laws in order to have a fun, productive trip. At the attorneys at Rehmeyer & Allatt want to encourage you to stay safe and offer some easy suggestions on the best safety practices, and how to protect yourself legally if you have any problems while on a canning trip.
Even though canners are doing a great thing in raising money for pediatric cancer, they can still get in trouble for their actions. In 2011, at least 8 students who were canning in Lower Paxton township were cited for soliciting motorists for donations at an intersection. Each of the student received citations with fines of about $100, and were immediately told to leave the area in which they were canning. According to Pennsylvania law, no one is allowed in a roadway to solicit donations from motorists. And while canners had been collecting at this intersection for over 10 years, the students were still charged without any warnings prior to the citations. According to Lt. Gary Seefeldt, Lower Paxton Police Spokesman "The organization [THON] has been warned for years and years" and it was up to the organization to tell the students about the warnings.
So how do you avoid getting cited for violations while canning? Take a look at our quick tips to staying out of any legal trouble on your canning weekend!
- Stay off of any roadways, intersections, or highways. Setting foot in the street, even to go collect a donation, is not only illegal under Pennsylvania law but can also be dangerous!
- Get a permit if needed! Many shops, restaurants or other popular canning locations require a permit to solicit donations. Call ahead at all the places you plan of visiting, (and maybe even a few backup locations) to determine if they are ok with you canning, and if you need a permit to solicit donations outside of their establishment!
- Never harass or try to force people into donating! If people want to donate, they will. Attempting to force or coerce someone into donating could have legal consequences, and could reflect badly on THON!
- Use proper signage and information! Always make sure you are using official THON canning materials, including signs and cans!
Now that we've talked through some of the legal concerns about canning, it is also extremely important that you stay safe while out canning for THON.
- It should go without saying, but never put your self in a situation that could endanger yourself of motorists. Canning at medians, traffic circles, highways and roadways without a sidewalk is not only illegal, but can also be extremely dangerous!
- Wear bright colors. Make sure to stay safe by identifying yourself with bright colors designed to attract attention! Wearing bright colored construction vests can keep you safe and can help attract attention to your cause. Penn State and THON sponsored logo gear and apparel is also a great choice.
- Stay with a group. Never wander off on your own, and always make sure you're canning during the day in a well lit, safe area with other canners.
The attorneys at Rehmeyer & Allatt wish all THON volunteers the best of luck with their canning this weekend.