Bill Would Drastically Increase Fine For Illegally Using The Independence Pass

Independence Pass

The Aspen Daily News reports that the Colorado Senate will soon vote on a bill that would increase the fine for vehicles illegally using the Independence Pass by nine times the current penalty.

On Monday, the Colorado Senate Transportation Committee unanimously passed House Bill D with would raise the fine for illegal use of the Independence Pass on Highway 82 between Twin Lakes and Aspen to $1,000 for trucks over 35 feet.  If the truck blocks traffic, the fine would increase to $1,500.

The bill will now move to the House for a vote.

Once of the bill’s sponsors, Sen. Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass Village, testified on behalf of the bill.

For years, local officials have worked to keep trucks off the pass, but they say many drivers have ignored the 35-foot restriction.

The current fine of $111 is not enough of a deterrent, say the bills advocates.

“Truckers have told deputies that they ignore the 35-foot restriction and an average fine of $111 because using the pass can save time and gas compared to driving around it, DiSalvo said Wednesday. But doing so and getting stuck could hamper emergency responses — hence the higher fine for blocking — and endanger other motorists, bicyclists or the pristine valley. The practice also causes road damage and leads to traffic jams, officials have said,” the Aspen Daily News reported.

The Colorado Motor Carriers Association has come out in support of the bill and many believe the bill will likely be passed.

The House is scheduled to hear the bill soon and the Aspen Daily News reports that the bill will likely pass this week or next.