Month: October 2007

Minimum Chain Requirements – Western States

** Editor Note: Although these chain laws are from the Oregon DOT Website, most western states including California and Washington are very similar. Oregon claims to have the toughest chain law on the west coast. By using this information, the Trucking Blog makes no guarantee that these laws are in fact applicable in other states. Please check with each individual state DOT authority for the applicable chain laws. Although, the minimum amount of chains required, usually about 6 sets, should be ok for all western states you may enter. California has an additional requirement for at least one set of double chains on your primary drive axle when maximum chain law is in effect. I carry 6 sets, two back-ups and 1 set of double chains. Also, I use at least 3 medium, rubber bungees per chain. This keeps loose chain links properly tightened and lessens the chance of chain breakage. **

When you drive in winter conditions, you may see signs telling you to carry chains or traction tires and when you are required to use them. In some areas, lighted message signs also will advise you about chaining up. To view the signs or learn more about Oregon’s chain law and the vehicles that may be exempt
from it go to Oregon’s Chain Law.

When signs tell you that chains are required on all or certain types of vehicles, chains must be placed as generally described below. Specific information on chain requirements is listed in Oregon Administrative Rule Chapter 734, Division 17. To view the administrative rule go to: http://arcweb.sos.state.or.us/rules/OARS_700/OAR_734/734_017.html.

In typical winter conditions, vehicles rated at 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight (GVW) or less and not towing or being towed are allowed to use traction tires in place of chains. For traction tire information go to Traction Tires.

In very bad winter road conditions all vehicles may be required to use chains regardless of the type of vehicle or type of tire being used. This is known as a conditional road closure. A conditional road closure may occur on any of Oregon’s highways and are frequent in the winter on Interstate 5 through the Siskiyou Pass south of Ashland.

The following provides examples of chain placement based on vehicle and trailer configurations. It is not the intent of the following examples to portray or suggest mixing of different types or designs of tires on a single axle. For these examples, please use the following legend.

Legend


Unchained wheel icon

Tire without chain.

Chained wheel icon

Tire with chain.*

Icon indicating that either axle can be used.

Chains may be placed on either axle.

Icon indicating that either axle can be used.

Chains may be placed on either side.

*Note: When one tire of a dual-wheel axle is required to have a chain, the chain may be placed on either the inside or outside tire.

Light Duty Vehicles

Vehicles with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) rating of 10,000 pounds or less such as a passenger car or light truck.

Light duty vehicles must use chains on one tire on each side of the primary drive axle. When towing, chains must also be on one tire on each side of one axle of a trailer that is equipped with a brake. Traction tires may be used in place of chains when the vehicle is not towing or being towed.

Graphic of chains on rear-wheel and front-wheel drive vehicles Graphic of chains on rear-wheel and front-wheel drive vehicles

Graphic of chains on auto trailers. Graphic of chains on auto trailers. Graphic of chains on auto trailers.

Medium Duty Vehicles

Vehicles with a GVW rating of more than 10,000 pounds but less than 26,001 pounds such as buses, RVs, and cargo vehicles.

Single-drive axle medium duty vehicles must have chains on one tire on each side of the drive axle.

Graphic showing chains position on single-drive axle buses and trucks.

Tandem-drive axle medium duty vehicles must have chains on two tires on each side of the primary drive axle; or if both axles are powered by the drive line, one tire on each side of each drive axle.

Graphic showing chain positions on tandem-drive axle buses.

A medium duty vehicle with one single-wheel axle and one dual-wheel axle must have chains on one tire on each side of the dual-wheel axle.

Graphic showing chain positions on tandem-drive axle buses.

When towing, chains must also be on one tire on each side of one axle of a trailer that is equipped with a brake.


Graphic of chains on auto trailers. Graphic of chains on auto trailers. Graphic of chains on auto trailers.

Solo Commercial Vehicles

Vehicles with a GVW rating of 26,001 pounds or more that are not towing.

Single-drive axle solo commercial vehicles must have chains on one tire on each side of the drive axle.


Graphic of chains on auto trailers.

Tandem-drive axle solo commercial vehicles must have chains on two tires on each side of the primary drive axle; or if both axles are powered by the drive line, on one tire on each side of each drive axle.

Graphic of chains on auto trailers.

Commercial Vehicles with Trailers

Vehicles with a GVW rating of 26,001 pounds or more that are towing one or more trailers.

Single-drive axle commercial vehicles towing a trailer must have chains on two tires on each side of the drive axle and one tire on the front axle and one tire on one of the rear axles of the trailer.


Graphic of chains on auto trailers.

Single-drive axle commercial vehicles towing a semi-trailer must have chains on two tires on each side of the drive axle and two tires, one on each side, of any axle of the semi-trailer.


Graphic of chains on auto trailers.

Single-drive axle commercial vehicles towing both a semi-trailer and a trailer must have chains on two tires on each side of the drive axle, two tires, one on each side, of any axle of the semi-trailer, and one tire on the front axle and one tire on one of the rear axles of the trailer.


Graphic of chains on auto trailers.

Tandem-drive axle commercial vehicles towing a trailer must have chains on two tires on each side of the primary drive axle; or if both axles of the vehicle are powered by the drive line, one tire on each side of each drive axle. Chains must also be placed on one tire of the front axle, and one tire on one of the rear axles of the trailer.


Graphic of chains on auto trailers.

Graphic of chains on auto trailers.

Graphic of chains on auto trailers.

Tandem-drive axle commercial vehicles towing a semi-trailer must have chains on two tires on each side of the primary drive axle; or if both axles of the vehicle are powered by the drive line, one tire on each side of each drive axle. Chains must also be placed on two tires, one on each side, of any axle on the semi-trailer.

Graphic of chains on auto trailers.

Graphic of chains on auto trailers.

Graphic of chains on auto trailers.

Tandem-drive axle commercial vehicles towing both a semi-trailer and a trailer must have chains on two tires on each side of the primary drive axle; or if both axles of the vehicle are powered by the drive line, one tire on each side of each drive axle. Chains must also be placed on two tires, one on each side of any axle on the semi-trailer and one tire on the front axle and one tire on one of the rear axles of the trailer.

Graphic of chains on auto trailers.

Graphic of chains on auto trailers.

Graphic of chains on auto trailers.

Tandem-drive axle commercial vehicles towing a semi-trailer and a semi-trailer that are connected by kingpin-to-fifth wheel assembles, commonly referred to as a “B-Train” or connected by kingpin-to-fifth wheel “C-dolly” assemblies, commonly referred to as a “C-Train”, must have chains on two tires on each side of the primary drive axle; or if both axles of the vehicle are powered by the drive line, one tire on each side of each drive axle. Chains must also be placed on two tires, one on each side, of any axle of the semi-trailer at the B-Train or C-Train connection and on two tires, one on each side, of any axle of the rear semi-trailer.


Graphic of chains on auto trailers.

Graphic of chains on auto trailers.

Graphic of chains on auto trailers.

For questions regarding chain-up requirements for commercial vehicles, contact your local ODOT Port of Entry.

*** Reprinted from the State of Oregon DOT Website, All laws and recommendations are for informational purposes only. The Trucking Blog claims no responsibility for mis-use or mis-information of the chain laws. PLEASE CONTACT THE LOCAL PORT OF ENTRY OR STATE DOT OFFICE FOR OFFICIAL LAWS CONCERNING TRAVEL IN THAT STATE. WE WILL NOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ERRONEOUS INFORMATION THAT RESULTS IN FINES AND/OR DELAYS IN TRANSIT BECAUSE OF THIS INFORMATION. Thanks! ***

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Comments about LA Accident

After the flames were put out and the smoke cleared, at least three people lost their lives in the horrific accident on I-5 in Los Angeles Yesterday. One thing that clearly annoyed me was the “pin headed”, close minded comment that I received yesterday from an anonymous reader. The reader asked if this was caused by a Mexican Trucker! What a bigoted question! I am not Hispanic, but as a Caucasian, I took great offense by someone asking such a question and jumping to conclusions of what caused the crash. I assume he was the same type of driver who is all of a sudden an expert at everything when he jumps on the CB radio. He is also the same type of person who has a negative opinion about every subject.

I would assume that the accident was caused by speed and the wet conditions at the scene. This 200 foot tunnel is a death trap and should be closed immediately. There is no need for a special truck bypass on this stretch of freeway. The tunnel was built with an approximate 5% grade with a sweeping “S” turn at the end of the tunnel. Just not a practical design for today’s freeway. If anyone should be upset is the proponents of equal speed limits for trucks and four wheelers.

Whatever the cause of the accident, we must remember those who lost their lives were human beings. They probably all had families and will be terribly missed by those left behind. The people who were injured will always have the scars and pain caused by this accident.

If you weren’t affected by this tragedy, maybe you need to search your soul and read the following article about a wife and kids who talked to their father on the phone just seconds before the crash. He was a grocery driver who was returning home from a trip. He happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and was trapped by the flames. The wife and kids held vigil at the scene until their fathers truck was pulled from the tunnel. He is suspected of being one of the unfortunate drivers killed. Read the article here: Family Holds Roadside Vigil For Missing Trucker.

Rain, Slick Pavement and a Dark Tunnel

(Mike Meadows / Associated Press)
According to the LA Times, at least 5 trucks were involved in this fiery crash along I-5 near the Antelope Freeway Interchange. At least 10 injuries and one person is still missing as of this post.

CHP is advising, requiring, all trucks to take CA126 to Ventura and down US101 to get to LA. An alternate route is CA58 at Bakersfield south. You can take CA58 to US395 and head south at Four Corners. This route will take you to I-15 south to inland Southern California, ie: San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego. CHP is expecting I-5 to be shut down throughout the weekend because of structural damage to the truck tunnel.

Be Safe, Be Alert and pray for those fellow truck drivers who may be hurt or still missing from this tragic accident in Los Angeles today.

You can read more about this accident at the Los Angeles Times.

Update: As of 11:18 AM, CHP officials confirmed 2 fatalities in this tragic accident. Unknown if they were truck drivers or four wheelers.

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More:

Turn Back the Clock

No, I am not talking about Daylight Savings Time and turning back our clocks. What I meant is that I want our elected officials in Washington DC to start listening to industry experts and ask them for some ideas about the Hours of Service dilemma that has taken the trucking industry and our federal court system by storm.

For the second time in two weeks, I have had to either turn down a load or re-adjust my working day to accommodate some ill advised, poorly thought of idea for how the nations truck drivers should carry out their working day. If the current law for the Hours of Service is upheld, I hope that the FMCSA takes a hard look at allowing us to extend our 14 hour day by taking breaks or splitting our log book into two, true driving periods as was the case before the new rules went into place a few years ago. Before, we could drive 6 hours, take a 5 hour break, then drive another 4 hours to complete our driving day. As you can see, the above example would put drivers over the 14 hour limit under the current rules.

I know that we can split our driving time now, just as long as we don’t go over that 14 hour rule in place right now. The reason I prefer the old system is simply because not every day is the same and driving conditions vary from day to day. Because a shipper had an early loading appointment time and the receiver had a late unload appointment time, I was unable to complete a full day of driving. I had to shut down after 8.5 hours on duty at least two times this week.

For instance, yesterday, I had 5 drops at stores that were less than 7 miles apart from each other. The total mileage for yesterday was 141 miles. If I were paid by the mile, I would have made only about $60 or so for working a 14 hour shift! If the old Hours of Service were in place, I could have placed myself in the sleeper for at least 4 hours during my deliveries. The stores we deliver to have their own appointment times and I have to sit for long periods of time occasionally between appointment times.

I guess what I am trying to say is that my job falls in the cracks between a long haul driver and a local driver. I can’t put all of my deliveries on a straight 14 hours local work day, and I can’t split my sleeper berth time during my long breaks throughout the day.

Tomorrow, I’ll have to drive 2.5 hours to get back to the yard, then I have a 4 stop delivery schedule that will take me late into tomorrow night. Because I can’t split my hours, I’ll have to shut down early tomorrow night and have to take a later run on Friday night in order to complete a 10 hour break. For the first time in four years, I can see that the current Hours of Service hurts my bottom line and what I am able to bring home for a paycheck.

I guess it is time again to re-evaluate my position and seriously consider if I can afford to continue my career as a truck driver. Mister or Madam Congressperson, turn back the clock and re-evaluate the current Hours of Service Law!