Trucker fines move to Senate floor
DENVER – A bill creating higher fines for truckers who don’t put chains on tires during winter snow storms continues to chug through the state Legislature Thursday. The bill was unanimously approved by the Senate Transportation Committee and moved to the full Senate. Before casting their votes, committee members heard about an hour of testimony in support of the once-controversial bill, much of which came from Summit County locals who traveled to Denver to champion the legislation.The bill proposes to raise the fines for commercial truck drivers who neglect to chain their trucks when the chain law is in effect from $100 to $500. If that driver’s negligence results in a blocked lane of traffic, the penalty would be $1,000, double the current citation. “The bill is making the stakes higher for folks who disregard the chain law,” said Arapahoe Basin vice president and chief operating officer Alan Henceroth, speaking on behalf of the ski area and Colorado Ski Country USA. “The chain law hasn’t been updated in 10 years and it’s time for an update.”Henceroth highlighted the economic impacts of wintertime lane closures, citing numbers released by the Colorado Department of Transportation: Each hour that the interstate is closed during a winter weekend results in an economic loss of $800,000. Last winter season, semi-truck spinouts caused the interstate to be closed 116 times for a total of 119 hours.House Bill 1229 is sponsored by Rep. Dan Gibbs, the Democrat who represents Eagle County and Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald, also a Democrat.