Highway News: Licenses, Registration and Roadwork
Vehicle Registration Hiccup
According to a press release distributed to media outlets on December 6 from the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles, due to programming updates needed to comply with the Sustainability Of The Transportation System Act, motor vehicle registration renewal reminders for Coloradans’ whose vehicle registrations expire in January 2022 will not be mailed in December.
These registration renewal reminders will start being sent on Jan. 3. The programming includes an $11 reduction in the Road Safety surcharge for 2022 among other Sustainability Of The Transportation System Act updates.
The Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) encourages Coloradans to check when their vehicle registration expires and plan accordingly since December renewal reminders won’t be mailed until Jan. 3, 2022.
Additionally, Coloradans who reside in participating counties can access DMV motor vehicle services at one of the state’s 52 MV Express Kiosks. The Colorado DMV is focused on accessibility of services to anyone, anywhere, anytime they are needed. DMV services are available on a variety of platforms including myDMV.Colorado.gov; the myColorado™ app, available on Android and iOS devices; MV Express Kiosks, conveniently located throughout Colorado as well as over 35 driver license offices throughout the Centennial State.
License Renewal News For Seniors
In a press release the Department of Motor Vehicles announced, “with the implementation of the Driver’s License Electronic Renewal By Seniors Act (HB21-1139), Colorado seniors now have the permanent ability to renew their driver license or identification card online.”
Coloradans ages 66 and older can renew their driver’s license or ID online. The new law also adjusts the process for renewing driver licenses online. Now Coloradans who are older than 21, but younger than 80, must attest that they have had an eye examination within one year before renewing their driver’s license online. Previously, Coloradans had to attest to having had an eye examination by an optometrist or ophthalmologist within the last three years.
Additionally, Coloradans who are older than 80 and renewing their driver license electronically will need to obtain a signed statement (DR 2402) from an optometrist or ophthalmologist attesting that the person renewing their license has had an eye examination within six months and the results of the examination. This statement will need to be uploaded as part of the online renewal application process.
Prior to the public office closures and under emergency guidance from Gov. Jared Polis, the DMV opened up online renewals to Coloradans 65 and older on March 10, 2020. From March 2020 to August 2021, about 136,000 Colorado seniors renewed their license or ID online.
By continuing online renewals to seniors, the DMV was able to serve thousands of Coloradans without the need to visit a state driver’s license office. But honestly, if you live in Leadville Today who could pass up a visit with Amazing Grace at your local DMV office in Lake County Courthouse?
Vail Pass Commuters See Improvement
Gov. Jared Polis joined officials from the Colorado Department of Transportation and the Colorado Motor Carriers Association Monday afternoon to open a new emergency truck ramp along westbound I-70 at the bottom of Vail Pass. This truck ramp is the first of several safety improvements being made as part of the $164.2 million I-70 West Vail Pass Auxiliary Lanes project.
This new emergency ramp provides truck drivers with a straighter path off the highway to reduce the likelihood of trucks tipping over. It also features a settlement basin beneath it so should there be any type of hazardous spill, it can be contained on-site and cleaned up with no impact to Gore Creek.
Providing a safe route for runaway trucks is just one-way CDOT is making travel over Vail Pass safer for everyone and helping to minimize the number of accidents that close I-70 — the state’s most critical corridor for interstate commerce and tourism.
“This project reduces closures of Vail Pass and therefore reduces traffic and trip times to the high country. This improvement represents the start of better things to come for the Coloradans and businesses that rely on Vail Pass. The safety improvements this project brings and the improved access for emergency service vehicles will reduce the number of closures on Vail Pass, saving Coloradans time and money and supporting our local economy,” said Gov. Polis.
CDOT is looking to reduce the number of times Vail Pass is closed for incidents with this improved truck ramp and the other safety features planned as part of this project over the next few years.
“The West Vail Pass Auxiliary Lanes project will reconstruct aging bridges, straighten out tight curves, widen shoulders to accommodate emergency service access and add five miles of an eastbound auxiliary lane to improve travel to the top of Vail Pass,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew.
Project construction is on winter hiatus and work on these other project elements is scheduled to resume in spring 2022, spanning 10 miles of Interstate 70 from East Vail to the top of Vail Pass. Major construction will be completed in 2025.
Open Enrollment Underway for Healthcare
Connect for Health Colorado is Colorado’s official health insurance marketplace that opened in October 2013 to help individuals, families, and small employers across Colorado purchase health insurance and apply for federal financial assistance to reduce the costs of health insurance. You can see what you may be eligible for by visiting their website.
One of their Certified Health Insurance program managers can guide you through the Connect for Health and Colorado Peak applications. If you’re unsure what you may be eligible for or what is available to you, their experts can help screen for eligibility and walk you through the application process. Appointments are from the comfort of your home via screen share or conference call.
For customers interested in the Connect for Health Market Place, the Open Enrollment period is November 1, 2021 through December 15, 2021 for a January 1, 2022 start date. Unless you have a qualified life change event within the last 60 days (for example, lost other health insurance or became ineligible for Medicaid due income change, you turned 26 years old, moved to Colorado from another state, got married or divorced, had a baby, were released from jail or prison, or became a permanent resident, etc.) If you are interested in applying for Medicaid or CHP+, you’re eligible to apply at any time.
Schedule an appointment HERE or call to make an appointment at 719-239-1414.
Wild Winter Driving Lessons Await
Colorado Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) Winter Wise campaign is launching “Winter Driving in the Wild,” an educational video series that will raise awareness of the laws, preparations and resources for safe and efficient winter driving. The series features the do’s and don’ts of Colorado winter driving through wildlife documentary-style mini-movies. “Winter Driving in the Wild” launches as CDOT prepares for winter travel, and the department hopes the series serves as a humorous and educational reminder of how to stay safe throughout winter.
The series includes videos about the Passenger Vehicle Traction Law, tire and snowplow safety, winter preparedness tips and a guide for winter driving resources. CDOT will release new editions of the series through winter.
“Motorists who are unprepared for winter road conditions create dangerous situations for themselves and everyone on the road, not to mention the extended delays we see from spinouts, slideoffs and crashes,” said Andrew Hogle, CDOT public information officer. “We’re excited to launch the ‘Winter Driving in the Wild” series to share these crucial messages and have some fun with Colorado drivers at the same time.”
A Comical Look at Winter Driving in Colorado
Having adequate tires with proper tread depth is the first step motorists should take before choosing to drive on winter roads. Between October 2020 and April 2021, 262 passenger vehicle crashes were reported on the I-70 mountain corridor in addition to 91 non-crash emergency responses (mechanical issues, fires, spinouts/slideoffs). Many of these crashes, spinouts and slideoffs were due to poor quality tires.
Having adequate tires is not only safe; it’s also the law. Last winter, CDOT activated the Passenger Vehicle Traction Law 166 times on the I-70 mountain corridor alone. CDOT can implement the Passenger Vehicle Traction and Chain Laws on any state highway.
During a Passenger Vehicle Traction Law, all motorists are required to have one of the following:
- A 4WD or AWD vehicle and 3/16” tread depth
- Tires with a mud and snow designation (M+S icon) and 3/16” tread depth
- Winter tires (mountain-snowflake icon) and 3/16” tread depth
- Tires with an all-weather rating by the manufacturer and 3/16” tread depth
- Chains or an approved alternative traction device
CDOT conducted a Passenger Vehicle Traction Law survey in January 2020 that found that rental vehicles were the most compliant vehicle type at 95%, and out-of-state vehicles were the least compliant at 86%. The primary reason for noncompliance: insufficient tread. Download the Compliance Infographic here for a visual summary of the report.
“The Traction Law is activated for safety and efficiency purposes,” said Hogle. “If everyone on the road has adequate tires and tread, then we’ll see fewer crashes and reduce delay times. That’s the goal — we want every Colorado motorist to get home safely without causing closures or extended delays. These laws and guidelines help us ensure that.”
For the most up-to-date winter driving resources, information and tips, visit winter.codot.gov.
Whether you’re a native, a new resident or a tourist, driving in Colorado winter weather can be dangerous if you’re not prepared. As we enter the winter months, CDOT wants to remind all Colorado roadway users of the following tips to stay safe.