SOUTHERN COLORADO — Snow is probably the last thing on your mind right now, but it'll be here before we know it and this year a new traction law is in place to keep you and other drivers safe.
A new law signed by Governor Polis this spring puts mandatory traction laws in effect on a 127-mile stretch of I-70 all the way from September 1st through May 31st. The Colorado Department of Transportation can activate traction laws to other highways as necessary throughout the snowy winter months.
Michelle Peulen, communications manager for CDOT, said there's two parts to this latest traction law. The first deals with tread on your tires.
Peulen said, "It has increased. It used to be that adequate tread was considered to be 1/8 of an inch. Now we've gone up to 3/16 of an inch."
She said the second and most important part - traction. No matter what type of passenger vehicle you have it must have one of these five things during traction enforcement: tire chains, a tire chain alternative such as an AutoSock, a 4-wheel drive vehicle with adequate tire tread, an all-wheel drive vehicle with adequate tire tread, or a vehicle with tires that are designated mud and snow tires.
Not complying could mean a hefty fine. Peulen said if you're pulled over by Colorado State Patrol and they notice that "you don't have adequate tread or adequate traction then you could face a $100 fine." On top of that - a $32 surcharge.
"If you are involved in an incident that requires the closure of lanes on any state roadway then the fine increases to $500." You'll also have to pay an additional $156 surcharge. You could face these fines anywhere.
"This is actually a traction law for the entire state."
Which means no matter where you venture to over the next nine months your vehicle better be up to snuff. The time to prepare is now.
"Colorado is so unpredictable with our weather. We're 90 degrees today, but you never know when those first flakes are going to be falling."
According to the National Weather Service Colorado could see its first snowfall late next month.