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Supporters of tire chains hope to reduce I-70 winter crashes

The Colorado House of Representatives delivered a victory to supporters of stricter winter safety rules for drivers on Interstate 70 when House Bill 1173 won a preliminary voice vote on the floor. HB 1173 aims to extend the tire chain requirements for commercial vehicles on Interstate 70 to include passenger cars.

Between Nov. 1 and May 15 tire chains would need to be carried by passenger cars without snow tires on I-70 in the mountainous region from Dotsero to Morrison if the proposed legislation becomes law. In 2009, a similar requirement was made for commercial vehicles.

The bill's sponsors Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush presented accident data from the Colorado Department of Transportation. The data suggested that the existing tire chain rule was reducing commercial vehicle winter accidents. Comparing hours that I-70 was closed because of commercial vehicle crashes and passenger car wrecks, the winter of 2010-2011 had 109 closure hours for commercial vehicles and 93 hours for cars. Highway closures in the more recent 2013-2014 winter equaled 43 hours for commercial vehicles and 100 hours for cars.

In some situations, careless drivers on winter roads cause accidents. A person injured in a car accident might be able prove that the other driver was negligent and should pay for medical bills and other damages. After looking at the accident investigation, an attorney might be able advise such a person on the potential of a personal injury lawsuit to win compensation for injuries. In addition to medical bills, a person might also receive money for lost income and support for dealing with a disability depending on the circumstances.

Source: 9 News, "Tougher I-70 chain law clears first floor vote," Brandon Rittiman, Feb. 26, 2015

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