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New snow zone condition added to chain regulations

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The Oregon Department of Transportation has amended the state’s chain regulations to add a new snow zone condition. The change addresses situations where chains are not needed for tandem drive axle trucks but are needed for other vehicles. The Oregon Trucking Association requested the change.

Under the new condition, when signs are posted, you must use chains on any single drive axle vehicle rated over 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight (GVW) and you must use chains if your vehicle is towing and less than 10,000 GVW (such as a pickup towing a boat). Chains must also be used on the trailer or vehicle being towed. Under this condition, chains are not required on tandem drive axle vehicles.

“There are times when large multi axle trucks might not need to put on chains, but single drive axle trucks over 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight (GVW) or vehicles towing trailers will need to chain up,” said ODOT District Manager Jerry Marmon. “The new chain condition is another tool for ODOT to use during inclement weather conditions and we expect it will help keep traffic moving with fewer tie-ups.”

Winter weather conditions can occur almost any time
“It’s a good idea to carry chains whenever you travel, especially in fall and winter months,” said ODOT Maintenance and Operations Engineer Luci Moore, “Oregon law requires you to carry chains in snow zones, regardless of the weather conditions.”

In very bad winter road conditions all vehicles may be required to use chains regardless of the type of vehicle or type of tire being used. This is known as a conditional road closure and may occur on any of Oregon’s highways.

“Regardless of whether the chains required signs are posted, it is every driver’s responsibility to maintain control of their vehicle at all times,” said Marmon.
Drivers who disobey the signs requiring chains or traction tires are subject to a traffic infraction, $190 for failure to obey snow zone signs and $544 for failure of a commercial vehicle to use chains.

Chain information including snow zone notices, chain requirements and diagrams are posted on Oregon’s travel information Web site,

« Back to the November 2009 edition