Colorado on verge of expanded traction law targeting 2WD cars on I-70
Drivers who venture onto Interstate 70 in the mountains in two-wheel-drive cars with standard tires during colder months — even on sunny days — are expected to be put on notice soon: That won’t fly anymore.
Such vehicles will need specialized tires or will have to carry traction devices, no matter the weather, between Sept. 1 and May 31 under a bipartisan bill that is heading to Gov. Jared Polis. The legislation, once signed, will beef up the state’s traction law, which currently kicks in before and during winter storms — sometimes catching travelers off guard.
Boulder skier Jeffrey Robinson, 35, had one word for the I-70 drive during this year’s drumbeat of storms: “hellacious.”
He recalled the recurring sight of vehicles with worn-out tires struggling to get moving on the slick interstate after traffic had come to a halt. Many appeared to be rental cars, and some had all-wheel-drive. “They fit the traction law that’s in effect,” said Robinson, a financial adviser whose Audi sedan has snow tires, “but they’re on either all-season tires or just don’t have good traction.”
Four-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive vehicles already pass muster under the current law if they have sufficient tread, but the bill would set a higher standard. It would increase the minimum tread depth from an eighth of an inch to three-sixteenths of an inch. Little would change for semi-trailers, whose drivers already are required to carry chains at all times during colder months.
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