Motorists that travel through Colorado might face penalties this fall/winter if they travel a particular section of Interstate 70 without using all-wheel drive, snow chains, or winter tires this winter.
On Monday, The Colorado Sun reported that a state bill is set in motion to require drivers to be prepared for winter weather when traveling on I-70 between Glenwood Springs and Morrison, which is a stretch of mountainous travel of about 150 miles. The bill, if unchanged, requires drivers to be prepared for the worst winter weather between September and May, regardless of snowfall or sunshine.
Similar bills have been brought to the table in the past and have failed to become popular, but a new amendment gives this current bill bipartisan support. The bill asks the Colorado Department of Transportation to find ways to enforce the new law, which might include physical checkpoints on the roads by police officers. Currently, Colorado can enact the ‘traction law’ to meet a few criteria for travel, but the regulations haven’t been significantly effective in the last few years. The state also noted that there was more traffic on I-70 during the skiing season, which is also in winter.
What It Means
The new bill focuses on protecting drivers during the worst winter conditions possible, but it also focuses on the economy. Local businesses have reportedly lost thousands upon thousands of dollars whenever the interstate must be closed for long time periods because of incidents and accidents on the mountain road.
If the bill passes, noncompliance could mean getting a $100 fine with a $32 surcharge. If the driver gets into an accident that must close a lane (or multiple lanes) of the interstate, and the vehicle doesn’t meet regulations, the fine could be as high as $500 with a $156 surcharge if the bill passes.