Summit DA adds a new penalty for truckers who don’t chain up
summit daily news
SUMMIT COUNTY – Saying existing fines don’t do enough to penalize truckers for not chaining up during snowstorms, Fifth Judicial District Attorney Mark Hurlbert said Friday his office is adding an additional penalty. Along with fines of $500 or $1,000, the DA will add a charge of “failing to obey a traffic control device,” which would deduct four points from a trucker’s license.
“There really is no excuse for a trucker to not chain up,” Hurlbert said in a press release. “There are plenty of spots now all the way from Denver to Dotsero, and if a person does not know how to put on chains, there is a service that will do it for them.”
Greg Fulton, president of the Colorado Motor Carriers Association representing truckers, said he was shocked to hear about it.
“This is a stacking of violations,” Fulton said. “It’s not an appropriate approach.”
As it stands now, Hurlbert said, chain-law non-compliance fines are often paid by the trucking company, not the individual trucker, which has apparently provided little in the way of deterrence. The new charge that carries a point penalty will hopefully do more, Hurlbert said.
But Fulton said drivers usually do pay their own fines. He added that, when the state Legislature created the chain-law violation fines last year, there was discussion about assessing points. But that, he said, would only target Colorado truckers, and so the idea was scrapped.
“I’m disappointed the DA wouldn’t contact anyone in the industry first about this,” Fulton said.
Hurlbert pointed to the mess trucks can create when they fail to chain up and cause traffic jams on Interstate 70.
“The impact on our community is huge when a trucker does not put on their chains,” he said. “I felt it was important for us do treat it seriously. Ultimately, though, I hope the truckers chain up and we do not have to put this into place. We simply want the highway to be kept open.”
The new charge would apply to the Fifth Judicial District, which includes Summit, Eagle, Clear Creek and Lake counties.
“We’d like to work with the DA on this,” Fulton said. “Last I heard, the state Legislature is the policy-making body.”
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