Idaho bill would make truck chains mandatory

| 3/5/2008

A bill nearing passage in the Idaho Senate would implement the state’s first chain-up law. Neighboring Montana, Oregon and Washington already have mandatory chain rules.

Sponsored by Sen. Joyce Broadsword, R-Post Falls, the Idaho measure 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.

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

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.

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 would help reduce the number of trucks that jackknife in northern Idaho mountain passes during snowy weather. Time consuming backups, disruption to commerce, and safety are cited as reasons to implement the chain rule.

The Senate Transportation Committee forwarded the bill – S1379 – to the full Senate, where it is awaiting final consideration. If approved there, it would move to the House.

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– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor