Closeup of car tires in winter on the road

This winter is the first for a new state mandate: Drivers must have weather-appropriate tires for the snow or risk a fine.

House Bill 19-1207 passed earlier this year prescribes tire chains, all-weather tires, or tires with a tread depth of three-sixteenths of an inch — plus four-wheel or all-wheel drive — for those traveling on any state highway in snowy weather.

“Most of the crashes and backups that we saw a few weeks ago when we had our first winter storm in October were vehicles that did not have appropriate tires,” said Andrew Hogle of the Colorado Department of Transportation, according to 5280 magazine.

The fine for violating the law is $132, and the fine for causing a crash while violating the law is $656.

In this first year, the Colorado State Patrol will not proactively enforce the new law, CDOT explained on its website. Future years may see increased monitoring as the budget allows, and the new law singles out the stretch of Interstate 70 between Eagle County and Morrison for priority enforcement.

The law firm Sears & Associates, which represents crash victims, reports that the three most common types of problems that occur on I-70 are rollovers, truck accidents, and hit-and-runs.

The tire mandate began on Sept. 1 and will end for the season on May 31.

Editors' note: This story was updated to clarify the tire requirements and that the mandate applies to driving in snowy weather.

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