Although winter is behind us and our roadways are free of ice and snow, Colorado lawmakers have had winter driving on their mind in the discussions that led up to Governor Hickenlooper's signing of a bill that requires lawmakers to research whether non-commercial drivers should be required to equip their vehicles with snow tires or chains.
The requirement being contemplated would apply during winter months only for those utilizing a roughly 130-mile section of Interstate 70 heavily used to travel to and from resorts. The aim of the study is ultimately to address the issue of traffic congestion due to frequent accidents.
Initially the bill directly required non-commercial drivers to use snow tires or chains. Those who failed to comply were to be fined. Due to widespread opposition, though, the original bill was amended to simply require a study of the issue. Sources didn't indicate when the study would officially kick off, or what concrete steps would need to be taken as part of the study.
If it does happen that motorists end up being required to properly equip their vehicles with snow tires or chains, failure to do so could result not only in penalties but also in liability for personal injury damages. Plaintiffs in personal injury cases would possibly be able to use a motorist's failure to use proper tires for wintery conditions as a way to demonstrate negligence.
It isn't clear what will come out of the study, but we'll be sure to keep readers updated on the issue.