FindLaw KnowledgeBasePublished: 2012-01-27
Interstate commercial drivers must be cognizant of the traffic laws that vary from state to state that are in place to keep the roadways save for all drivers. A prime example is the Colorado “Chain Law.” Commercial drivers on certain stretches of state and federal highways in Colorado are required to have adequate snow and ice traction equipment on board from September 1 through May 31. The law was passed in 1996 in an effort to increase safety during those months when unexpected heavy snowfall is most likely to occur.
Chaining It Up
According to the Colorado State Patrol, the term coined for the law, “Chain Law”, misrepresents the law’s true requirements. The law’s provisions vary depending on the weather conditions and the type of commercial vehicle. There are two levels.
Level One (Chains or Snow Tires):
- Acceptable snow tires must have a manufacturer rating for M/S (mud and snow) or an all-weather rating displayed on the tire. Other traction equipment such as chains or cables can be used instead of snow tires.
Level Two: (Chains Only):
- With the exception of four-wheel drive vehicles, this level applies to all commercial vehicles
- Steel-link chains are the only acceptable traction mechanism at level two
Other factors such as vehicle weight and type of vehicle also govern the level requirements.
Unsafe Tires Lead to Accidents
The Colorado State Patrol takes the Chain Law very seriously. Violation of the Chain Law’s requirements may lead to steep fines (as high as $500). Vehicle inspection stations are set up to ensure compliance. Even after the chains are put on, Colorado State Patrol can postpone continuance of travel in an effort to create a safer traffic flow.
Winter roads are difficult to navigate for commercial vehicles. Commercial drivers who do not properly winterize their vehicles put everyone on the road at risk. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a truck accident due to an improperly chained commercial truck contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your options.