State cracks down on chain law violators with increased fines and enforcement

The fine for ignoring chain requirements is up to $500.

Snoqualmie Pass

Washington state transportation authorities announced that they are amping up chain enforcement on Snoqualmie Pass this winter.

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) issued a warning on Monday, December 10, to let drivers know that they are teaming up with state troopers to increase chain enforcement on I-90 through Snoqualmie Pass this winter.

WSDOT says that the reason for the enhanced enforcement effort comes down to the fact that drivers who don’t chain up often cause crashes that shut down the interstate:

“Unfortunately, many drivers crossing snowy mountain passes either don’t carry chains despite it being required by law, or don’t put them on. For the past several years, more than half of the closures on I-90 Snoqualmie Pass have been due to vehicles ignoring a chain-up requirement and then getting into collisions and blocking lanes.”

Because of the difficulty in getting tow trucks in to remove crashed vehicles on the snowy mountain pass, transportation officials often have to shut down I-90 when a crash occurs. “Not only does it take a long time, but it’s a huge inconvenience to the more than 30,000 vehicles that travel across Snoqualmie Pass every day,” says WSDOT

WSDOT warns that drivers who ignore the chain up requirements are subject to fine of up to $500. 

The warning comes as a winter storm is expected to dump as much as two feet of snow on the mountain pass on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Here’s a quick reminder on what WSDOT’s traction/chain advisories mean:

  • Traction Tires Advised: Oversize loads prohibited from roadways.
  • Traction Tires Required: All passenger vehicles must have
    approved traction tires.* Chains required on all vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating greater than 10,000 pounds, including large passenger trucks, SUVs and RVs.
  • Tire Chains Required: All vehicles must have approved tire chains, except four- and all-
    wheel-drive vehicles.** Violators face a $500 fine.
  • Chains Required On All Vehicles: During extreme weather, ALL vehicles must install chains when this is posted — even 4WD/AWD.

You can click here to check current chain-up requirements on Washington state mountain passes. 

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