Colorado law in effect Aug. 6 gets tough with trucks on Independence Pass

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 8/6/2014

A new law in effect Wednesday, Aug. 6, in Colorado is intended to boost the deterrent for large trucks and recreational vehicles on Independence Pass.

Colorado law prohibits oversize and overweight vehicles – including vehicles or combination vehicles longer than 35 feet, regardless of size – from using the pass that connects Twin Lakes and Aspen. Signs on each side of the pass, which is typically open for six months each year from Memorial Day to early November, indicate the restriction.

Despite the postings, between July 2010 and October 2013 there were 86 emergency calls related to oversize vehicles on the Pitkin County side of Independence Pass. According to state figures, 79 incidents were related to large trucks and seven were RVs.

Starting Wednesday, Aug. 6, the new law increases the punishment for prohibited trucks and RVs found on state Highway 82 between mile markers 47 and 72.

“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 previous news release.

Fines now are $2,000 – up from $500. 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.

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