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Colorado House set to give final approval to traction law changes

Posted: 12:19 PM, Apr 11, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-11 14:19:10-04

DENVER – The Colorado House is set to give final approval to a bill changing traction laws on state highways during winter months. The largest impact of this change are requirements for people traveling on I-70 for seven months out of the year.

HB19-1207 amends current Colorado law to require anyone traveling on I-70 between Morrison and Dotsero to be prepared for winter driving conditions from September 1st through May 31.

Being prepared means having at least one of the following:

  • carrying tire chains
  • an alternative traction device (example: autosock)
  • having 4-wheel drive equipped with tires having at least 3/16 inch tread depth
  • all-wheel drive with tires having at least 3/16 inch tread depth
  • or tires imprinted with a mountain-snowflake (M&S, M+S or M/S) symbol to indicate a rating for all-weather conditions

According to CDOT, the easiest way to test the tread on your vehicle’s tires is to use the quarter test. It’s quite simple and takes very little time. Insert a quarter with Washington’s head facing down into your tread groove. If the tread touches Washington’s head, you have at least 4/32 inch of tread remaining. If the tread doesn’t touch the top of his head, you need to purchase new tires.

The Colorado Department of Transportation will also have the ability to consider and determine the effectiveness of new and upcoming technologies for winter driving beyond simple tire chains.

The fines stay the same for a non-commercial vehicle operator who violates these regulations. Penalties include a Class B traffic infraction, $100 fine, and a $32 surcharge. Furthermore, if your failure to be adequately prepared for icy or snow-packed conditions results in a closure of at least one lane of traffic, you’ll receive an additional penalty of $500 and a $156 surcharge.

The bill has already passed through the House and Senate. This final vote is to consider an amendment made by the Senate. That addition calls for the Colorado Department of Transportation and Colorado State Patrol to work with a transportation committee for the remainder of 2019 determining enforcement options for the stretch of I-70 impacted.