Stricter regulations on commercial vehicles are coming into effect today with the hope of making winter highway travel safer.
Enhanced chain-up regulations are in place as of today, Nov. 29, for commercial vehicles. The Ministry of Transportation expects the changes will make highways such as the Coquihalla — which experienced 33 commercial vehicle-related closures last winter — safer.
The new regulations are more robust than the old ones, encompassing all commercial vehicles over 5,000 kilograms.
Buses, five-ton trucks and other vehicles under 11,794 kilograms must now use chains on a minimum of two tires, the ministry says in a media release. Vehicles over that weight must use chains on two to six tires, depending on the configuration.
The province says there will be a learning period for drivers before stricter fines are enforced later this winter. Currently drivers face a fine of $121 for not carrying chains or installing them when required.
When the ministry announced the new No Trucks in Left Lane initiative earlier this month, the B.C. Trucking Association pointed out the province needed to do more education and enforcement surrounding the use of winter-driving chains for commercial drivers, and it supports the new enhanced chain-up requirements.
Trucking association president and CEO Dave Earle said in the release they also support “stiffer fines for those not compliant.”
“Safety of our drivers and all road users is our first priority,” he said.