Snowy road conditions on Highway 19. northbound. (Supplied by Helen Bridges).
Commercial truckers who don’t use chains will risk paying the price.
Higher fines will be levied for commercial truck drivers who aren’t carrying chains when required.
It will cost truckers even more if they don’t install them during mandatory chain ups on B.C. highways.
In previous winters, drivers faced a base-level fine of $121 for not carrying chains or not installing them when required to do so.
Drivers will now be fined $196 for not carrying chains when and where required, and $598 for not installing chains during mandatory chain ups.
These fines will go into effect Oct. 1, when winter tire and chain-up regulations begin on most B.C. highways.
The province notes that the stricter fines support the enhanced chain-up regulations implemented last November to improve safety and reliability of B.C. highways during winter conditions.
The fine increases were not implemented at that time, as the ministry wanted to give the industry time to adjust its practices to the new regulations.
Previous regulations only required vehicles over 27,000 kilograms to carry and use traction devices, with only one wheel needing chains during winter conditions and mandatory chain ups. The new, more all-encompassing enhancements clarify requirements for all commercial vehicles over 5,000 kilograms:
Vehicles with licensed gross vehicle weights less than 11,794 kilograms, like buses or five-ton trucks, must use chains on a minimum of two tires and can use steel chains, cable chains, automatic chains, socks or wheel sanders if not equipped with winter tires.
Vehicles with licensed gross vehicle weights of 11,794 kilograms or more must use steel chains.
The number of tires needing chains ranges from a minimum of two tires for vehicles without a trailer, to six tires on some larger and more-demanding configurations.
Last winter, there were 10 extended closures on the Coquihalla, nine of which involved commercial vehicles.
The winter before, there were 35 extended Coquihalla closures, 33 of which involved commercial vehicles.
Through industry engagement in 2018, 70 percent of drivers surveyed supported enhancements to traction device requirements and 88 percent agreed that new and increased fines were needed to improve compliance.
The link to the chain-up regulations and fines can be found here.