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Drivers of 18-Wheelers Now Subject to Winter Chain Laws

While it is important for any driver to take precautions to avoid an accident, large commercial vehicles have particular considerations and regulations. Starting in September, drivers of 18-wheelers and other commercial trucks in Colorado became subject to the chain law once again. The law, which is enacted in the state between September 1 and May 31 each year, aims to make roads safer during the winter months.

The law stipulates that commercial drivers carry sufficient chains on all state and federal highways in Colorado. The law is also in place on Interstate 70 when traveling between mile marker 259 outside Golden and mile marker 133 in Dotsero. The law applies to any vehicle with a gross combination weight rating of 26,001 or more that is designed to carry more than a) 10,000 pounds or b) 16 or more passengers, including the driver. 

Most veteran drivers are familiar with this regulation since it has been on the books since 1996. Those who are caught without chains will be fined in accordance with the law. While fines are only $50 (plus a $17 surcharge) for those caught without chains, they can go up to $500 if they do not put chains on when asked and $1,000 if they lose control and block the road. Of course, the cost could be much higher than that if a driver ends up in an accident due to not taking precautions.

While most states have this type of law in place, Colorado is the only state where it comes into effect as early as September. This is due to the unique weather patterns of the state. Because of the early and harsh winters in the area, there is unfortunately a serious concern about accidents involving 18-wheelers, especially if proper safety measures are not followed. Those who are in such an accident should reach out to a lawyer right away to understand options and next steps.

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