Mountain Rules

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About The Mountain Rules Campaign

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The Colorado Department of Transportation, in partnership with the Colorado State Patrol, Colorado Motor Carriers Association, and in-cab driver alert providers, PrePass Safety Alliance and Drivewyze came together on August 16, 2019, to help enhance safety for truckers traveling through the state’s mountainous areas.

The Mountain Rules is a comprehensive, strategic and safety-focused effort to inform and educate in-state and inter-state trucking companies and drivers on the challenges of driving in Colorado’s mountains. It includes information on potential hazards, and a consistent reminder on the need to be slow, steady, and safe for the long haul.

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Campaign Goals & Objectives

In addition to an educational effort, The Mountain Rules consists of infrastructure and informational improvements, including:

  • Signing eastbound Interstate 70 and all eastbound chain stations, east of the Eisenhower/Johnson Tunnels, with information on the brake check locations for truckers.
  • Restriping the wide eastbound exit ramp at the Genesee Park Interchange into a more-defined short-term truck parking area where overheated brakes can cool down and equipment checks can take place prior to the final descent into the Golden area.
  • A new subscription-based, in-cab alert system, warning truck drivers about specific areas where brake failures could occur, and the location of brake check and runaway truck ramps.
  • Information gathering on the feasibility of a new ramp and other measures to mitigate runaway trucks, such as geometric and signage improvements to the existing Mount Vernon Canyon Truck Runaway Ramp.

Learn more about the campaign in The Mountain Rules Fact Sheet.

Why do we need The Mountain Rules?

Colorado’s high elevation and topography can be challenging and require motorists to proceed with extra caution. Truckers have it especially hard in the mountains. When driving a vehicle that’s up to 70 feet long and weighing up to 80,000 pounds, the terrain along the mountain corridor can increase the likelihood of brake failure.

Colorado experiences severe weather events that make driving difficult in the mountains, with high winds and storms that can bring extreme snow and hail. Colorado is also susceptible to hazards such as rockfalls, fires and floods. All of these elements can cause additional challenges and problems for trucks along the I-70 Mountain Corridor

Driver Alerts

The Mountain Rules is an industry-informed effort. Using a focus group with the help of the Colorado Motor Carriers Association, CDOT was able to identify the best approach for providing alerts, including timing of advance notifications, locations and frequencies for reminders, and the type of alerts (audio and/or visual).

Driver alerts are subscription-based and include in-cab driver alerts that notify drivers of steep grades, locations of runaway truck ramps, and areas for brake check and cooling.

Runaway Truck Ramps & Usage

Runaway truck ramps exist to provide refuge when a vehicle loses its brakes traveling at higher speeds on steep downgrades. Runaway truck ramps are usually located on steep, sustained grades in mountainous areas. Long descending grades can result in reaching high-vehicle speeds, and heavy truck brakes can overheat and fail through extensive use.

Colorado has runaway truck ramps along major corridors to prevent collisions when truck brakes fail. 

Runaway Truck Ramp Usage

  • Runaway truck ramps are used most frequently in the summer.
  • The Lower Straight Creek runaway truck ramp along westbound Interstate 70 at Milepost 211.83 is the most heavily used runaway truck ramp not only in Colorado, but also in the U.S. 
  • Key areas for hot brakes along Interstate 70 include westbound traffic just east of Silverthorne near exit 205, and eastbound traffic near Georgetown at exit 228.
  • Major truck crashes often happen at the switchback curve near the Wolf Creek scenic overlook on Colorado Highway 160

Runaway truck ramp example