GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4)Laws requiring chains and snow tires don’t just apply to commercial vehicles and tractor-trailers, but in past winters the Colorado Department of Transportation had not really enforced those rules for passenger vehicles.

CDOT said at a news conference on Thursday that starting this winter they will begin enforcing the rules for passenger vehicles. That means drivers will need to pay attention for codes 15 and 16.

Code 15 is Colorado’s traction law. To drive on the Interstate 70 corridor when weather is dicey enough for CDOT to issue a Code 15, vehicles will have to either have snow tires or a 4-wheel drive vehicle — both with at least 1/8-inch tire tread.

If conditions worsen, CDOT can issue a Code 16, which means vehicles are required to have chains or an alternative traction device like an auto sock on tires.

Mark Altman with CDOT demonstrates the auto sock (credit: CBS)

Mark Altman with CDOT demonstrates the auto sock (credit: CBS)

“We spent last year educating the public about the need for good tires and they listened, with more than 70 percent saying they checked their tires before traveling in the I-70 corridor,” Amy Ford with CDOT said in a statement. “Drivers should expect in general when they see a chain law required for truckers that the traction law will likely be required for passenger vehicles.”

Those who break the laws and cause a crash, block traffic or just get caught could be fined more than $650.

“You wouldn’t leave for a fun weekend skiing in the mountains with bad skis and boots and bindings,” Maj. Matt Packard with the Colorado State Patrol said. “I’ve asked that you make sure your car is equally prepared to make that drive.”

“Traffic crashes — not volume account for 60 percent of all traffic delays,” Maj. Steve Garcia with the Colorado State Patrol said. “Law enforcement and insurance companies will not penalize motorists for moving their vehicle off the roadway after a crash. Moving your crash is the simplest and safest way to keep traffic flowing along one of the most traveled corridors in the state.”

LINK: CDOT Information On Chain Laws

Additional Information From The Colorado Department of Transportation

Sign up for text alerts that will notify when CDOT issues a code 15 or 16 and the traction and chain laws kick into effect.

To encourage motorists to invest in the proper equipment, CDOT is again partnering with tire companies across the state to provide discounts on winter tires. CDOT and tire partners will lead tire checks at resorts and major events, letting Coloradans know if their tires meet the requirements of the Traction Law. To find the nearest tire partner, Coloradans can visit winter.codot.gov/tires.

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