Safe Roads: Getting traction

EnCompass Magazine

As winter weather approaches, and driving conditions worsen, our friends at the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) want to remind all motorists of the state’s updated traction law.

In Spring 2019, Gov. Jared Polis signed House Bill 19-1207 into law, updating the current traction law on particular sections of I-70 from September to May.

These updates are meant to alleviate delays and crashes along this corridor during peak winter driving season. The public will be notified by electronic signs when there are additional closures or restrictions along 1-70 in addition to the traction law.

What is the bill?

  • Requires owners of two-wheel drive vehicles with standard tires to carry traction equipment on 1-70 between Dotsero and Morrison from Sept. 1–May 31.
  • Violators will be given a citation, which comes with a $100 fine and $32 surcharge. That jumps to a $500 fine with a $156 surcharge if a violation results in the closure of one or more traffic lanes.
  • The new law increases the minimum tread depth for tires on all vehicles—including those with four-wheel-drive—from an eighth of an inch to three-sixteenths of an inch.

What does it mean?

  • All motorists are required to either have an all-wheel or four-wheel-drive vehicle, or snow tires, or all-season tires with a mud/snow designation. Vehicles that do not meet these criteria must carry chain devices.
  • The law focuses on passenger vehicles, as commercial vehicles have their own restrictions.
  • It is unlawful to proceed when a state highway is closed or to proceed when a restriction is in effect without the required traction equipment.

To learn more, visit winter.codot.gov/TractionLaw.