WSR 02-03-049



[ Filed January 9, 2002, 4:19 p.m. ]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 01-22-093.

Title of Rule: WAC 468-38-075 Overlength exemptions and 468-38-390 Winter road conditions.

Purpose: Rule 075 provides exemptions to other WAC rules for very specific overlength vehicles, including movement restrictions found in WAC 468-38-390. Rule 390 provides movement restrictions for over-legal permitted vehicles and/or loads during winter road conditions.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 46.44.090.

Summary: The Washington State Department of Transportation is using new signs in the mountain passes, under emergency rule making, effective November 1, 2001. The signs have significant changes that communicate to the motoring public and commercial carriers when to carry and apply tire chains, and what vehicles are prohibited from moving during winter road conditions. The proposal changes the sign verbiage referenced in the two WAC rules. The proposal also clarifies the consequences of moving into a restricted area.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: The verbiage change clarifies the vehicle operators responsibility and provides the correct references for enforcement.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting and Implementation: Barry Diseth, Olympia, Washington, (360) 704-6346; and Enforcement: Captain Fred Fakkema, Olympia, Washington, (360) 753-0350.

Name of Proponent: Washington State Department of Transportation and the Washington State Patrol, governmental.

Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.

Explanation of Rule, its Purpose, and Anticipated Effects: The proposed amended rules provide motor carrier information regarding movement during winter road conditions. The rules reference signage used in the mountain passes. The verbiage on the signs has changed. The amendments will make the rules consistent with the signs being used. The rules are also amended to clarify consequences of moving within a restricted area. The new signs convey a clear message to vehicle operators about their responsibility during winter road conditions and provides a clearer basis for enforcement. It is expected that this clearer communication will result in fewer traffic incidents in the mountain passes during winter road conditions.

Proposal Changes the Following Existing Rules: The rule does not change in principle, however, the reference to specific sign verbiage is updated to be consistent with the signs in use, and the consequences for movement within a restricted area are spelled out in the rule.

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. Determined there is no significant impact to small business. The essence of the rule is not changed by the amendment, only clarified.

RCW 34.05.328 applies to this rule adoption. This rule is subject to violation by a nongovernment party.

Hearing Location: Large Commission Board Room 1D3, 310 Maple Park Avenue S.E., Olympia, WA, on March 5, 2002, at 9:30 a.m.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Barry Diseth, (360) 704-6346, by February 25, 2002.

Submit Written Comments to: Barry Diseth, P.O. Box 47367, Olympia, WA 98504-7367, fax (360) 704-6350, e-mail

Date of Intended Adoption: March 5, 2002.

January 2, 2002

John F. Conrad

Assistant Secretary

Engineering and Operations


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending Order 143, filed 3/11/94, effective 3/11/94)

WAC 468-38-075   Overlength exemptions.   Vehicles may move by special motor vehicle permit without regard to oversize load signs (WAC 468-38-190), weekend curfew or holiday restrictions (WAC 468-38-230), commuter traffic restrictions (WAC 468-38-235), or night-time movement restrictions (WAC 468-38-260), when they meet the following overlength conditions:

Tractor/trailer combinations with:

-A single trailer not exceeding fifty-six feet (including load)

-Double trailers not exceeding sixty-eight feet (including load)

-Nonreducible loads (including trailer) not exceeding sixty-one feet

-Vehicles with front overhang not exceeding four feet beyond the three foot legal limit set in RCW 46.44.034 (see also bumper criteria set in RCW 46.37.517)

-Single unit fixed load vehicles not exceeding an overall length of forty-five feet including a four foot front overhang beyond the legal three foot limit and a rear overhang not to exceed fifteen feet measured from the center of the last axle.

The aforementioned vehicles, when in compliance with WAC 204-24-050 Use of tire chains or other traction devices, are also exempt from that portion of the winter road restrictions (WAC 468-38-390) prohibiting movement in areas where ((any of)) the following sign((s are)) is displayed: (("Traction tires advised," "approved traction tires recommended," "approved traction tires required," or "tire chains required." The signs, however, must be obeyed.)) "TRACTION ADVISORY/OVERSIZED VEHICLES PROHIBITED."

[Statutory Authority: RCW 46.44.090. 94-07-055 (Order 143), 468-38-075, filed 3/11/94, effective 3/11/94; 93-21-008 (Order 139), 468-38-075, filed 10/8/93, effective 11/8/93.]

AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending Order 132, filed 11/2/92, effective 12/3/92)

WAC 468-38-390   Winter road restrictions.   During periods when "emergency load restrictions" or "severe emergency load restrictions" are in effect, only vehicles equipped with tires required by WAC 468-38-080 may operate under permit. ((Movement by permit of units whether driven, towed or hauled is prohibited in areas where any of the following signs are displayed: "Traction tires advised," "approved traction tires recommended," "approved traction tires required," or "tire chains required."

Special permits for movements over mountain passes (Snoqualmie, Stevens, Sherman, Blewett, White and Satus) will not be valid))

The department of transportation or the Washington state patrol may prohibit any vehicle, whether moving by special permit for oversize and/or overweight or not, from entering a chain/approved traction device control area when it is determined the vehicle will experience difficulty in safely traveling the area. Prohibitions will generally be communicated by traffic control sign (i.e., "TRACTION ADVISORY/OVERSIZED VEHICLES PROHIBITED," "CHAINS REQUIRED ON ALL VEHICLES EXCEPT ALL-WHEEL DRIVE," "VEHICLES OVER 10,000 GVWR CHAINS REQUIRED," etc.). In addition specific vehicles or vehicle combinations may b e required to operate with specified traction devices (i.e., "TRACTORS PULLING DOUBLE TRAILERS MUST CHAIN UP").

Movement into a restricted area when prohibited, or without the specified traction device, will be considered a violation of the permit, which is a traffic infraction, and subject to the penalties set forth in RCW 46.44.105.

When signs, or other traffic control methods are not present, a vehicle, or vehicle combination, operating under a special permit for oversize, must stop movement at the nearest safe location during periods when snow is falling to a degree that visibility is limited to less than 1,000 feet; immediately following a severe storm when snow removal equipment is operating; when fog or rain limits visibility to less than 1,000 feet; or when compact snow and ice conditions require the use of chains. If hazardous conditions are encountered after a move is undertaken, it shall be the responsibility of the permittee to remove the oversize load from the highway, and ((he shall)) not proceed until conditions have abated and ((he has obtained)) clearance obtained from the nearest department of transportation office or the Washington state patrol. Failure to stop is a violation of the special permit and subject to the penalties of RCW 46.44.105.

The secretary of transportation may issue special permits for department vehicles used for snow removal or the sanding of highways during emergency winter conditions. Such permits shall also be valid for vehicles in transit to or from the work site. Limitations on movement during hours of the day or days of the week may be waived. Sign requirements may be waived if weather conditions render such signs ineffectual. Movements at night may be made only by department vehicles whose lights meet the standards for emergency maintenance vehicles established by the commission on equipment.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 46.44.090. 92-22-074 (Order 132), 468-38-390, filed 11/2/92, effective 12/3/92; 89-23-110 (Order 68), 468-38-390, filed 11/22/89, effective 12/23/89; 82-18-010 (Order 31, Resolution No. 156), 468-38-390, filed 8/20/82. Formerly WAC 468-38-280. Statutory Authority: 1977 ex.s. c 151. 79-01-033 (DOT Order 10 and Comm. Order 1, Resolution No. 13), 468-38-390, filed 12/20/78. Formerly WAC 252-24-372.]

Washington State Code Reviser's Office