BC Government News - Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources

Stricter regulations for commercial drivers will improve highway safety

VICTORIA - Enhanced chain-up regulations are now in place for commercial vehicle operators, which will mean safer B.C. highways and improved vehicle performance during winter conditions.

"Last winter, 33 of 35 extended closures on the Coquihalla involved commercial vehicles, and in most cases this was due to truck drivers either poorly installing chains or not using them at all," said Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. "While most drivers do chain up during winter weather, these new regulations, and the stricter fines that will follow will improve safety and hopefully reduce the number of closures."

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 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 11,794 kilograms or more must use steel chains, and 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.

The ministry recognizes that the commercial vehicle industry is being given short notice and will balance the need for safety and reliability with giving the industry time to adjust its practices to the new regulations.

Commercial vehicle safety and enforcement officers will provide information and education to drivers over the coming months before stricter fines are implemented and enforced later this winter. The values of the escalating fines for non-compliance are being evaluated and considered. Previously, drivers faced a base-level fine of $121 for not carrying chains or not installing them when required to do so.

"The BC Trucking Association (BCTA) supports government's enhancements to commercial chain-up requirements, including the stiffer fines for those not compliant," said Dave Earle, president and CEO of the BCTA. "Safety of our drivers and all road users is our first priority."

In June 2018, the ministry conducted a survey with the commercial vehicle industry and related stakeholders on these proposed changes. The survey results indicate:

Over 70% of commercial drivers surveyed approved of enhancements to the quality of, and requirements for, traction devices.

Over 90% of those surveyed said they are already compliant with the regulations.

Over 80% said they have the tools and training in place to implement the proposed regulations.

Learn More:

For more information on the enhancements to chain-up regulations and fines

For details on the engagement survey, including a summary report of the findings