Colorado Traction Law: A Refresher

Posted on: November 23rd, 2020 by Accurate Auto Body Shop No Comments

With all the of the craziness of 2020, it would be understandable if you forgot about one of 2019’s big issues: a major update to Colorado’s Traction Law. However, it’s an important issue that you need to be aware of, because running afoul of it could not only put you at risk for getting stuck on the road or getting into an accident, it could land you with a hefty fine on top of your tow or repair bill.

The Law Covers All Passenger Vehicles on I-70

Colorado Traction Law: A Refresher

Colorado Traction Law: A Refresher

The most sweeping change signed into effect by Governor Jared Polis in 2019 was the expansion of the Traction Law to cover all passenger vehicles traveling on I-70 between Dotsero and Morrison from the beginning of September until the end of May.

In addition, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) can put the Traction Law into effect on any highway in the state at any time that conditions require it. In worse conditions, CDOT can implement the Chain Law, which requires all passenger vehicles to have chains or an AutoSock®.

How to Comply with the Traction Law

What does the Traction Law require? If you are on a highway where the traction law is in effect, your car must be equipped with at least one of the following:

  • 4WD or AWD and at least 3/16” tread depth on the tires
  • Tires with a mud and snow designation (M+S icon) and 3/16” tread depth
  • Winter tires (mountain-snowflake icon) and 3/16” tread depth
  • Tires with an all-weather rating by the manufacturer and 3/16” tread depth
  • Chains or an AutoSock®

The increase in tread depth to 3/16” was part of the 2019 update to the law. The best way to measure this is with a tire tread gauge.

You can also use a coin to measure it but be aware that most “handy guides” are for measuring 4/32” or 2/16” tread, the time you would normally want to replace your tires. This level of tread will not put you in compliance with the Traction Law. Instead of measuring with George Washington’s head on a quarter, turn it so that the words “In God We Trust” go in first. If you can see the “d” in “God,” you’re not in compliance. If you have a penny, use the back. On old pennies (with the Lincoln Memorial), the words “E Pluribus Unum” should be completely covered by your tread. For newer pennies (with the shield), the tread should touch the top of “E Pluribus Unum” to be in compliance.

The Penalties for Noncompliance

As with many automotive equipment laws in Colorado, violations of the Traction Law are enforced as secondary offenses. If you have a crash or cause traffic delays, you will be cited for violations of the Traction Law.

If you are caught driving without proper equipment, you could be fined more than $130. If you block the roadway because you don’t have proper equipment, the fine could be in excess of $650.

Were You in an Accident?

Whether or not you were complying with the Traction Law, accidents happen in wintry weather. If so, you want to get your car back on the road for a guaranteed price and at a guaranteed time. Our Focus on You Service System™ means you get a guaranteed quote and a guaranteed completion date. Since we work around your schedule, you can get your repairs completed with a minimum disruption to your routine and your budget.

To learn more about our unique approach to auto body repair, please contact Accurate Auto Repair today.

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