Colorado authorities are intensifying their crackdown on traffic express lane rule violators, deploying more roadway surveillance technology and shifting from warnings to $75 civil penalties in an effort to improve highway safety.
The surveillance systems including sensors, cameras and tracking software detect violations and identify driver transgressors who cross the painted white lines separating express lanes from other lanes. Crossing those solid white lines greatly increases crash risks due to speed differences between express and other traffic.
Drivers caught crossing or weaving back and forth across the white lines on Interstate 25 north of Denver and C-470 in the south metro area will face the penalties starting Oct. 1 after a one-month grace period starting Sept. 1, Colorado Department of Transportation officials said in a news announcement.
Drivers who already have received mailed warnings during a grace period along the Interstate 70 Mountain Corridor – where enforcement began on July 21 – no longer will receive warnings if caught violating the rules during the grace period for I-25 and C-470, CDOT officials said. The latest expansion of enforcement, starting Sept. 1, covers the C-470 express lanes between the interchange with I-25 and Wadsworth Boulevard, and along I-25 between US 36 and E-470.
Drivers in Colorado commonly cross over solid white lines demarcating express lanes when traffic slows and when trying to pass vehicles already in the express lane, officials said. Along the I-70 Mountain Corridor west of Denver, the surveillance has led to at least 6,455 drivers receiving mailed tickets and another 7,135 receiving warnings, records show. The fines increase to $150 if not paid within 20 days.
“These violations threaten the lives of all roadway users,” CDOT spokesman Tim Hoover said in the emailed announcement. “Drivers who have made a habit of breaking these rules will no longer be able to avoid the consequences of their unsafe actions.”
Under state law, drivers may enter or exit express lanes only at points designated with signs and dashed lines. Colorado lawmakers last year boosted CDOT’s authority to crack down on express lane transgressors. CDOT officials said they eventually will install surveillance sensors and cameras on all express lanes including those along I-25 between Denver and Colorado Springs.