(Feb. 26) – On the heels of a snowstorm that caused spinouts that closed Interstate 70 in both directions, Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush’s bill to reduce the number of wintertime traffic tie-ups on the mountain portions of I-70 won the House’s voice-vote approval this morning.

HB15-1173, sponsored by Reps. Mitsch Bush, D-Steamboat Springs, and Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale, would clarify the current chain law. Now, causing an accident or closing the highway when the chain law is in effect may result in fines ranging from $100 to $500. But there is much confusion about when and whether passenger vehicles must comply.

This bill specifies that from Nov. 1 to May 15, and from Morrison to Dotsero, passenger vehicles must have adequate tread depth on their tires or carry chains or other traction devices. It would not create checkpoints or new fines.

“This bill is not just a public safety measure,” Rep. Mitsch Bush said. “It will reduce economic losses that cost our state an estimated $143 million in 2014.”

After a recorded vote, the bill will go to the Senate.

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