Stiffer fines for chain law violations moves to Colorado governor


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The Colorado Senate has approved a bill that would boost fines for truck drivers who fail to chain up during bad weather. The state also will allot nearly $2.5 million to build and expand new Interstate 70 chain-up spots.

Existing Colorado law fines truckers $100 for failure to put on snow chains. If an unchained truck results in a blocked highway, the fine jumps to $500. Drivers don’t have points added to their commercial driver’s license for the offense.

The Senate voted 33-1 to approve a bill – HB1229 – that would increase the base fine to $500. The fine would double to $1,000 if trucks not in compliance block traffic.

Sponsored by Rep. Dan Gibbs, D-Silverthorne, the bill now heads to Gov. Bill Ritter’s desk for his signature. The House already approved it on a 56-9 vote.

Supporters say the steeper penalties are needed because truck drivers and their companies simply write off the current fine as “the cost of doing business.” They say the need to address the issue is highlighted because portions of Interstate 70 closed 15 times in Colorado this winter due to chainless trucks.

Owner-operator and OOIDA Life Member Jim Mathews of Greeley, CO, said it’s inaccurate to depict truckers as dismissive of fines.

“We’re all out here trying to make a living. Somehow the rumor spread we make lots of money.” Mathews told Land Line.

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