Chain Regulations

Several western states (like California, Oregon and Washington) have chain laws that require carrying and/or using winter traction devices at certain times or under certain road conditions.

In these states, failure to carry and use winter traction products as prescribed by local authorities can result in fines and/or penalties. These chain laws are the most complicated for commercial vehicles, specifically tractor-trailer combinations.

SCC Truck

Although chain laws vary by state, the most representative is California’s diagram showing requirements acceptable in any jurisdiction.

Please click here for the California Chain Requirements chart. Tire chains, cable chains and other winter traction devices are legal in every state and province in North America.

All legal authorities recognize the difference between “studded tires” and other winter traction devices. Some states and provinces limit the use of studded tires or outlaw them completely because studs are considered to be a permanently attached device which contributes to expensive damage to the road surface over time.Tire chains, cable chains and other similar traction devices are considered “temporary” because they are installed only when needed. They do not represent the same kind of threat to road surfaces.

California tire chain regulations

Cal Trans approved! Our heavy duty cable chain, Super Z, meets Cal Trans I-80 “minimum” requirements. In December 1997, Cal Trans (California Department of Transportation) approved the use of our Super Z winter traction product under their unpublished “minimum” chain-up requirements. Super Z is the only cable chain approved by Cal Trans to meet this standard, which allows some commercial vehicles to proceed with less than the minimum number of chains required by law.

Yosemite National Park has adopted similar regulations, making Super Z the first cable chain allowed in the park.

Colorado is the only governmental authority in North America that recognizes a legal difference between cable chain, tire chain, rubber chain or any other variety of traction devices that can be temporarily installed on a tire.

Since 1996 the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has enforced regulations making the use of most “cable” chain products virtually illegal on vehicles over 26,000 GVW. However, the CDOT regulations have allowed some cable chains (including all Peerless Industrial Group, Inc. cable chain products) to be used as alternative traction devices (ATDs) on commercial vehicles of 26,000 GVW or more, with the exception of single axle tractors.  All Peerless Industrial Group, Inc. cable products do qualify for use as ATDs in Colorado.


Questions about chain laws and current regulations can be directed to the following departments:

Disclaimer: To the best of our knowledge, the previous statements accurately represent laws pertaining to the use of winter traction devices throughout the U.S.A. and Canada. Chain laws and regulations may change at any time and Peerless Industrial Group, Inc. will do it’s best to publish the most current information available.