CSP issued 12 tickets for chain law violations during snowstorm


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State patrol said troopers issued just 12 tickets to commercial drivers for noncompliance with chain laws during the snowstorm.

COLORADO, USA — The Colorado State Patrol says unprepared truck drivers caused the closure of Interstate 70 in the Colorado mountains Wednesday night into Thursday. 

“Despite extensive warnings from the Colorado State Patrol, Colorado Department of Transportation and local emergency service agencies, some professional drivers failed to comply with Colorado chain law,” CSP said in a news release Friday. 

They said one of the most severely impacted areas was the portion of I-70 between Silverthorne and Morrison. Drivers disregarding the chain law “resulted in an extended closure in both directions on Thursday, trapping motorists until lanes could be cleared and safely reopened late in the afternoon,” CSP said. 

RELATED: Travelers stranded for hours on a bus on I-70 make it home

CSP issued just 12 tickets to commercial drivers for noncompliance with chain laws during the storm. 

“Those 12 that were written most likely came from trucks that were so stuck that we had to sit behind them and wait,” state patrol Sgt. Patrick Rice said. 

Rice said in an emergency situation like this, troopers’ priorities change. 

“Once we get into the emergency and crisis mode of the road being blocked up, we’re more interested in getting the road open and moving,” he said. 

CDOT said it can take anywhere between 30 minutes and an hour and a half to move a stuck semi. 

Rice said since the traction law kicked in for the season in September, they’ve ticketed 800 truckers for breaking the rules. Most of those tickets were issued in non-emergency situations. 

“When the chain law is implemented, troopers often times begin actively seeking chain violations to avoid road closures, but proactive efforts are often replaced by emergency calls for service,” CSP said in the release. 

When I-70 finally reopened Thursday afternoon, CDOT said the highway was open only to passenger cars. They said it wouldn’t reopen to commercial motor vehicles until noon Friday. Still, though, truckers were seen driving on the interstate. 

“The restriction that we placed on trucks going into the I-70 corridor yesterday evening, is largely voluntary,” Rice said. “Compliance is very difficult for us to enforce with a handful of troopers already playing catchup on the pass.”

When 9NEWS asked if there was any way to retroactively ticket drivers, Rice said that’s hard because a lot of trucks belong to large companies, and it would be tough to tell who was where and when. 

RELATED: Snowcat to the rescue for stranded drivers in Colorado mountains

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CSP issued 12 tickets for chain law violations during snowstorm

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