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Fines set to double for Oregon truckers who fail to chain up rigs when required

Dangers are obvious when chains are either not carried or not used when the weather warrants

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Fines for commercial truck drivers in Oregon who fail to use chains when required due to snowfall are about to double, starting this weekend.

“Think about it now. Don’t wait until the weather forecast says snow is coming,” David House, Commerce and Compliance Division representative for the Oregon Department of Transportation, said Wednesday.

The fee is being increased from $440 to $880. ODOT said raising the fines for truck drivers failing to use tire chains when necessary is due to safety concerns.

“If a car slides out, you can push it out of the way, maybe it blocks one lane for a while," House said. "But if a truck happens to slide out, it can block all the lanes for hours, until it gets unstuck. So that’s not only a problem for the drivers and the drivers load, but also for all the travelers stuck behind them.”

On average, he said, ODOT Motor Carrier Enforcement officers cite about 1,300 truck drivers each year for failure to carry chains.

House said he believes sometimes truck drivers don’t stop to put on tire chains on their trucks to save time, but says the small amount of time being saved is not worth it.

“It can make you go from a little late to a lot late. And make a whole lot of people late too, not to mention the risk of safety,” House said.

Jana Jarvis, CEO and president of the Oregon Trucking Associations says she understands the need to boost the fines.

“The purpose behind this new policy is to encourage companies and their drivers to carry chains, so that when chains are required, trucks will pull over and put on chains so that we don’t end up clogging up the freeway network,” Jarvis said.

Although the fine is set to double, House said it's necessary.

"It's not that we want to fine you," he said. "It's that we want to comply with the chain laws and reduce the chances of a crash happening. It's that simple."

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Leslie Cano

Leslie Cano is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Leslie here.


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