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Colorado State Patrol ramping up enforcement for winter traction laws

Many tickets, citations and warnings have already been given out to trucks and passenger cars.

COLORADO, USA — The Colorado State Patrol (CSP) is not messing around when it comes to enforcement of Colorado's traction laws this winter. Even with an unusually warm September, patrolmen are already handing out tickets to drivers who aren't complying with the updated laws. 

"Those troopers have been out and they have been inspecting those trucks to make sure that they're carrying the proper equipment, which includes chains," CSP Sergeant Blake White said. 

The law, signed by Gov. Polis in May 2019, said vehicles need to either have snow tires or carry some sort of traction device (like chains or tire socks) at all times if they’re not four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The rule applies to the stretch of I-70 between Dotsero and Morrison, and it’s in effect from Sept. 1 to May 31, regardless of the forecast.

Commercial vehicles like semi-trucks need tire chains, as well.

The new law also increased the minimum tire tread requirements for all tires to three-sixteenths of an inch.

RELATED: Colorado's new I-70 traction law in effect from September to May

CSP recommended using a chart on their website to determine whether your car is compliant. 

Now that drivers have had a year to get their cars compliant, CSP is beginning wider enforcement.

"Last year was really just a learning period, we didn't have much enforcement related to it," said White. "We anticipate more enforcement this year as drivers have had more time again there are several options that people can use now to be in compliance with the law."

Even though it may seem early to be enforcing the law heavily, White said it's for everyone's safety so they're prepared when the weather gets extreme. 

"The biggest thing that people need to be aware of is it's your safety, and this is your life this is other people's lives or, you know, even at a minimum your property," White said. "We get so many crashes in the mountains because people are not properly prepared, they think they can drive up there, the weather changes and they get caught in the storms or sliding off the roadway, and they're either on the back of a tow truck or in the hospital, and we don't want that to happen."

Keep in mind that the traction law is different from the chain law. If the chain law is in effect, everyone needs to have some kind of chain, AutoSock or other traction device on their car or risk a massive fine. 

Credit: CDOT

White stressed that the law is to make sure everyone stays safe on the highway this winter. 

"We want people to safely travel, we want you to be able to get up in the mountains so you don't have cars all over the roadway blocking it, so it's taking care of each other and taking care of yourself."

RELATED: Snow or shine, a bill would require specialized tires, chains or AWD on I-70 all winter long

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