Revised chain law bill gains traction

Nicole Formosa
Summit County correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

DENVER ” A revised bill proposed by Rep. Dan Gibbs, D-Silverthorne, sailed through the House Transportation Committee Thursday morning, three weeks after the first version of Gibbs’ House Bill 1229 stalled in the same committee.

The bill passed with an amendment that would raise the fine to $500 for a commercial truck driver who doesn’t chain up when the chain law is in effect and $1,000 if that trucker’s actions result in a blocked lane of traffic.

The new amendment also allows private vendors to sell or rent chains on the highway for truck drivers who aren’t prepared for winter conditions, Gibbs said.

Other amendments to the bill passed previously would exempt tow truck operators from the bill, would allocate the money collected from enforcing the bill into the Highway Users Tax Fund, and would require the Colorado Department of Transportation to research additional chain-up areas along the I-70 corridor.

Trucks blocking the interstate during the winter are a bane for both motorists and Colorado ski areas along I-70, as the accidents can keep Front Range skiers from reaching the slopes.

Since the bill’s first trip to the committee, Gibbs has been meeting regularly with the Colorado Motor Carriers Association, CDOT and the Colorado State Patrol to come up with a consensus on the bill that worked for everyone.

Truckers were concerned about having enough well-lit areas on I-70 to ensure their safety will chaining up their semis. In the past several weeks, CDOT has committed to $2.4 million to address some of those safety concerns.

Colorado Motor Carriers Association president Greg Fulton offered his strong support for the new version of House Bill 1229 at Thursday’s meeting.

The bill now goes to the Appropriations Committee.