New Idaho law makes truck chains mandatory

| 4/4/2008

A new law in Idaho implements the state’s first chain-up law. Neighboring Montana, Oregon and Washington already have mandatory chain rules.

Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter signed a bill into law Tuesday, April 1, that applies 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 new law, previously S1379, took effect immediately.

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 will 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 will be mandatory on one axle at or near the rear of each towed vehicle.

The Idaho Transportation Department and local law enforcement are required to post signs alerting truckers about the requirements.

Sponsored by Sen. Joyce Broadsword, R-Post Falls, the new rule does 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 will help reduce the number of trucks that jackknife on North Idaho mountain passes during snowy weather. Time-consuming backups, disruption to commerce, and safety were cited as reasons to implement the chain rule.

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

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor