Idaho Senate approves bill to make truck chains mandatory

| 3/25/2008

A bill that would implement the first chain-up law in Idaho has cleared the state Senate. Neighboring Montana, Oregon and Washington already have mandatory chain rules.

The Idaho Senate unanimously approved a bill that would apply to large trucks along stretches of two roadways: Lookout and Fourth of July passes on Interstate 90, and Lolo Pass on state Highway 12. The measure now moves to the House.

Idaho State Police Captain Clark Rollins said the three passes were selected because they have space to accommodate truck chain-up areas and signs, The Spokesman-Review reported.

When state highway officials determine that conditions merit traction devices, trucks would be required to place chains on at least one tire on each side of one drive axle, regardless of the number of drive axles. Chains also would be mandatory on one axle at or near the rear of each towed vehicle.

Sponsored by Sen. Joyce Broadsword, R-Post Falls, the proposed rule would not apply to local logging trucks and other local trucks that fall into a category already exempt from certain trucking regulations.

Supporters say the chain law requirement would help reduce the number of trucks that jackknife on North Idaho mountain passes during snowy weather. Time-consuming backups, disruption to commerce, and safety are cited as reasons to implement the chain rule.

The bill – S1379 – is awaiting consideration in the House Transportation Committee.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Idaho, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor