Colorado Ski Traffic

In this Sept. 8, 2017, time-exposure photo, the sun sets as traffic moves along Interstate 70 west of Denver.

The Colorado legislature is sending the governor a bill to force drivers to watch their tread or be prepared to chain up on Interstate 70 in the mountains in the winter.

House Bill 1207 is seen as a vehicle to untangle winter traffic jams caused on I-70 and curb accidents by ill-prepared passenger vehicles sliding into accidents.

The House on Tuesday voted to accept a Senate amendment to the bill. The Senate added an instruction for the state Department of Transportation to study ways to inform the public about the proposed new law this summer.

"I think it's a good amendment to get the word out," Rep. Dylan Roberts, D-Eagle, who sponsored the bill with Sens. Kerry Donovan, D-Vail, and Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale, told the House Tuesday morning.

The bill would require passenger vehicles  the rule already applies to professional trucks and buses  to mind their traction from Morrison 126 miles west to Dotsero from Sept. 1 to May 31.

Violators would face a Class B traffic infraction and a fine of $100 with a $32 surcharge. If a violation results in the closure of at least one lane of traffic, the fine jumps to $500 with a $156 surcharge.

The House on Tuesday passed a separate piece of legislation, House Bill 1265, to increase fines for passing state, country or local snowplows that are scraping snow in formation.

It already is a Class B traffic offense "if the person fails to exercise more than ordinary care and caution in approaching, overtaking or passing an authorized service vehicle that is performing its service function and displaying its lights."

The legislation, which still must pass the Senate, elevates the infraction to a Class A traffic offense, publishable by a fine of up to $100 with the option of higher penalties, depending on the circumstances.

The snowplow bill passed the House 58-6.

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