In an effort to help keep Colorado drivers safe on winter roads, Colorado lawmakers are one step closer to passing a bill that will require all drivers to install snow tires or chains on vehicles that wish to travel on I-70 through the mountains during the winter months. The Colorado House recently passed a voice vote of the bill.
The new legislation couldn’t come at a more important time, seeing as there have been numerous weather-related accidents in the last few months alone. During one particularly nasty series of auto accidents, eastbound I-70 was impassable for over six hours. The backup went on for nearly 4 miles and the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) noted that the accidents led to 60 plus vehicles having to be towed out of the area.
Sargent Rob Madden of the CSP stated that the incidents were due, in large part, to vehicles not having appropriate tires for the wintery conditions.
Under Colorado’s current state law, the CDOT (Colorado Department of Transportation) and CSP can require passenger vehicles to be equipped with snow tires or chains in the event that roads are in poor condition. However, this new law would implement the snow tire rule throughout the entirety of winter.
Rep. Bush believes that having this law on the books will help motorists have consistency and know what is required of them.
“What my bill does is create certainty and predictability for the motorists,” Rep. Mitsch Bush told Fox Denver. “So that we, as the motorists, know what we need to have.”
If formally passed, the law would mean that from November 1 to May 15 snow tires (or chains) would be required equipment on all cars travelling between Morrison and Dotsero, Colorado. Enforcement of this law would be a secondary offense, meaning drivers could not be pulled over for failing to have the proper driving equipment, but rather penalties would be enforced on drivers who were already being cited for a separate violation or after an accident.
Failure to have the proper winter equipment would be a $132 fine for improper tires leading to an accident and $656 for an accident resulting in a closed a roadway lane.
While the penalties that drivers could face for improper equipment under this new bill are on the low side, they are high enough to get noticed by some drivers. Mitsch Bush hopes that this law could one day lead to a stronger deterrent that may be able to do even more to help prevent winter weather accidents.
If you’ve experienced physical, emotional and/or financial loss due to a negligent or reckless driver, please contact Colorado auto attorneys at The Babcock Law Firm for a free consultation.