Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Gov. Bill Ritter today strengthened efforts to make Colorado's roads and highways safer when he signed a package of five transportation-related bills into law.
"As we move into the summer travel season, my hope is this legislation will make those family road trips safer for everyone," Gov. Ritter said. "I'm especially honored to be here today with the family of Charles Mather, including his wife Lena, to sign a bill that will better-protect both the driving public and highway construction workers."
CDOT worker Charles Mather was killed two years ago when a semi-trailer crashed into the machinery he was operating on an Interstate 25 paving project south of Pueblo. House Bill 1036 (McFadyen/Williams), known as the Charles Mather Highway Safety Act, will enhance enforcement -- partly through the use of photo radar -- and increase penalties for speeding and other violations in work zones.
"We still have a problem with people driving too fast through work zones," Rep. Buffie McFadyen said. "That puts everyone, not just our highway workers, at risk. Photo radar is an effective tool to slow people down in high-risk areas such as school zones. It's time to take the next step and extend it to highway construction zones as well."
"The safety of our highway workers is of paramount importance to the citizens of Colorado," Sen. Suzanne Williams said. "My hope is HB 1036, with its penalties, will remind people to drive slowly and carefully around highway construction zones."
Gov. Ritter also signed a second transportation safety bill, HB 1010 (McFadyen/Takis), which increases fines for dangerous traffic violations, including inattentive driving, speeding, DUI, lane violations and following too closely. Research shows a direct correlation between increased fines and decreased fatality rates, and many of Colorado's fines have not been increased in 20 years.
The other three bills the Governor signed today:
HB 1257 (Vaad/Williams) authorizes the state to approve overweight permits for quad-axle tanker-trailer combinations. This new permit and fee will provide truckers and shippers the ability to carry heavier divisible loads utilizing a greater number of axles onColorado roadways. Additional axles spread cargo weight out evenly without increasing pavement damage.
"House Bill 1257 was a cooperative effort between CDOT and the truck association," Sen. Williams said. "Congratulations to them both for coming to an agreement."
This brings Colorado in line with other states and allows local industries, such as dairy, to be more competitive. The bill also will reduce the number of trips from farm to market, reduce the number of trucks on highways, cut back on fuel consumption with less trips, and reduce wear-and-tear on Colorado's rural roads.
Senate Bill 60 (Boyd/Summers) extends authorization of the Automobile Theft Prevention Authority to 2018 and expands the Authority from a nine-member board to 11, with the two additional members representing insurance companies. The Authority was created in 2003 because Colorado had one of the highest rates of auto theft nationally. Colorado's theft rate has since declined, with the Authority playing an important role by supporting agencies and programs across the state.
SB 63 (Penry/Butcher) replaces current off-highway vehicle and snowmobile sound standards with a Society of Automobile Engineers international standard. This aligns state and federal off-highway vehicle sound standards, and provides law enforcement with a measurement standard and tool for identifying violations in back country wilderness areas.