DENVER — A little-known law called “Code 15” will have stricter enforcement on the Interstate 70 mountain corridor this winter.
“Code 15 is a law that has been on the books for quite some time now,” Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman Emily Wilfong said. It’s a passenger vehicle traction law and it means that if that code is called drivers must have snow tires, tires with the mud/snow designation, or a four-wheel drive vehicle to be able to travel on the roadways without a potential fine. Additionally, all tires must have a minimum one-eighth inch tread.
Those fines could range from $130 to $650 if traffic is obstructed.
“It’s dangerous for the drivers who are driving the vehicles that are unprepared but in addition other drivers on the corridor. We knew that we had to take some action,” Wilfong said.
Action has been taken. CDOT said this season it will impose Code 15 much more often. Meaning, if you’re traveling up I-70, you must have proper winter tires or four-wheel drive.
“What we’ll do at CDOT is use our variable message board signs that we have on the highways, we’ll use that to alert drivers. We also have a lot of tools like COTrip.org, and on CDOT mobile you can also sign up for alerts via text message,” Wilfong said.
Code 16 is another little-known law in Colorado. It will be enforced in extremely dangerous road conditions, meaning all vehicles (semitrucks and passenger cars) must have chains.
In Colorado, loss of traction or skidding off the road is the leading cause of delays along highways during winter months.
Some Colorado lawmakers have attempted to make Code 15 a permanent law from drivers on I-70 during winter months. That won’t happen this season, so in the meantime, keep an eye out for the enforcement warnings.