JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — A day after Interstate 70 was shut down because of nearly two dozen spin-outs and spin-offs during a snow storm, state troopers said more tickets could be headed to drivers who aren’t obeying the traction laws.
Troopers wrote two traction tickets during the storm Wednesday night and said they could have written dozens more, but didn’t.
“We do want to enforce the law, but we want to make sure we’re doing it the best way we can,” Master Trooper Gary Cutler said. “A lot of times, we don’t want to spend that moment right there writing a ticket. We want to get that car out of the way. If we can get them over on the shoulder, then we might cite after that.”
This is the first winter season for the new passenger traction law.
Cutler says troopers are focused on education and are giving most drivers a grace period right now, but that will change with time.
“We want to give everybody a chance to make sure they know the law and understand the law,” Cutler said. “We do cut some breaks at the beginning. We’re not going to tell people when we’re going to change that over from education to enforcement.”
Soon, that enforcement could become proactive instead of just reactive.
State Rep. Dylan Roberts, who helped write the law, told FOX31 the Colorado Department of Transportation and Colorado State Patrol could also do checkpoints at Morrison and Dotsero, where the passenger law takes effect for drivers headed into the mountains.
“They have the discretion to make it work like they want to,” Roberts said. “They could pull over a random set of vehicles. They could pull over just semis or just passenger vehicles or a random sampling, similar to the way they do DUI checkpoints.”
CSP already has a similar program to monitor tractor trailers and make sure they are following chain laws.
That program was in effect Wednesday night and electronic billboards warned drivers about the storm and rules well before they reached the snow.