Last legislative session, the Idaho Legislature passed and the governor signed a bill proposed by Senator Joyce Broadsword, R-Sagle, that imposed a new regulatory requirement on business in Idaho. This was a case of a legislator seeing a need and moving to fill it. On I-90 between Coeur d’Alene and the Montana line, there have been frequent cases of big trucks sliding off, jackknifing or otherwise getting into accidents on the several passes the interstate traverses, 4th of July probably being the worst. Other states nearby have far stricter winter travel requirements; Idaho had not. But the case for this one seemed fairly clear. The independent trucker association described the bill this way:
“The new law, previously S1379, applies to large trucks along stretches of two roadways: Lookout and Fourth of July passes on Interstate 90, and Lolo Pass on state Highway 12.
When state highway officials determine that conditions merit traction devices, trucks will be required to place chains on at least one tire on each side of one drive axle, regardless of the number of drive axles. Chains also will be mandatory on one axle at or near the rear of each towed vehicle.”
Has it helped? A Spokane Spokesman-Review article today says that it has. The recent snows in the Idaho Panhandle have been stunning in quickness and depth, and a mass of truck accidents wouldn’t be surprising.
But Shoshone County Undersheriff Mitch Alexander was quoted as saying, “I don’t think we’ve been getting the calls for the jacknifed rigs like we have in previous years, not even close. So I think it’s working . . . It’s always a nice thing when you see something work, you know.”
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