New Colorado law gets tough with trucks using Independence Pass

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 6/10/2014

A new law in Colorado would boost the deterrent for certain large vehicles on Independence Pass.

Colorado law prohibits oversize and overweight vehicles – including vehicles or combination vehicles longer than 35 feet – from using the pass that connects Twin Lakes and Aspen. There are signs on each side of the pass, which is typically open for six months each year from Memorial Day through mid-November, indicating the restriction.

Previously HB1021, the new law increases the punishment for prohibited trucks and RVs found on state Highway 82 between U.S. 24 and the city of Aspen.

“It is incredibly dangerous for these vehicles to be on the pass and it can take hours for law enforcement to respond to an incident or accident,” Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush, D-Steamboat Springs, said in a news release.

Starting Aug. 6, fines would increase from $500 to $2,000. Violations that result in closures would increase the fine to $2,500 and two license suspension points.

Sen. Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass Village, said the stiffer punishment is necessary to get the attention of some truckers who consider the existing fines to be the cost of doing business in order to save time.

Owner-operator and OOIDA Life Member Jack McComb of Littleton, Colo., said he welcomes increased punishment for wayward truckers. He told Land Line there is no excuse for a trucker to miss the posted signs alerting truckers to stay off the pass.

“Oversized vehicles on the pass are not only in extreme danger of damaging their equipment, but the possibility of a fatal accident is very high,” McComb said.

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