Colorado’s Department of Transportation recently approved new tire requirements for all vehicles driving on Interstate 70 during the winter in the state. The goal of the new tire rules is to reduce accidents on the icy winter roads and help keep everyone moving during peak traffic times.
All cars must have tires that meet the newly released minimum snow tire standards. Drivers who fail to comply could face fines of up to $650.
When the Passenger Vehicle Traction Law, also known as Code 15, is in effect, all vehicles must have one of the following:
• Snow tires with at least a 1/8″ tread
• Four-wheel drive with 1/8″ tread tires
• All-weather 1/8″ tread tires that have the mud and snow “M/S” mark
• Traction devices, such an auto-sock or chain, for two-wheel drive tires
While this law has been on the books for some time, this year is the first time that the state plans to strictly enforce it. According to Fox31 Denver, some state lawmakers are pushing to make Code 15 permanently in effect on I-70 during the winter. For this year, drivers should just be on the lookout for warnings.
I-70 Coalition Program Manager Margaret Bowes spoke to 7News Denver about the extreme weather delays and challenges on the 1-70 stretch, which is something CDOT hopes the tire requirements will address. According to Bowes, accidents cause the longest delays, a statement the CDOT backs up. The department reported that minor accidents that only take around ten minutes to clear sometimes delay traffic by up to one hour.
The Code 15 tire requirements are expected to be in effect during winter weather conditions. When severe storms occur, the Passenger Vehicle Chain Law, or Code 16, will be the last set of regulations in effect before a road is closed to traffic. All vehicles on the road must have chains or an alternative device for traction, such as the state-approved AutoSock, during a Code 16.
According to CDOT, you can check to see if your tires are safe to drive on during a Code 15 by using the following “quarter test.”
• Take a quarter and insert it into your tire’s tread upside down, with George Washington’s head entering first.
• If Washington’s head top is covered by the tread, your tires are safe. Perform the test at multiple spots around each tire.
• You will need new tires if the top of Washington’s head is visible at points around the tire.
CDOT has partnered with stores around the state to provide discounts on new tires to buyers under its “Operation TireSafe” initiative. Visit CDOT’s official website to view the available discounts in stores near where you live.