Commercial truckers will now face higher fines for not carrying chains when required, as well as not installing them during mandatory chain ups on B.C. highways.
During 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 went into effect Oct. 1, 2019, when winter tire and chain-up regulations begin on most B.C. highways.
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 provide the industry with sufficient 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.
During winter 2018-19, there were 10 extended closures on the Coquihalla, nine of which involved commercial vehicles. In winter 2017-18, there were 35 extended Coquihalla closures, 33 of which involved commercial vehicles.
In 2018 a provincial poll found 70% of drivers supported enhancements to traction device requirements and 88% agreed that new and increased fines were needed to improve compliance.