Despite countless campaigns focused on the perils of distracted driving, Coloradans, like their counterparts in other states, continue to drive while talking, texting or searching on their smartphones. A recently introduced bill going through the Colorado legislature would formally make that a crime.
Current law only prohibits young drivers under 18 from the all-too-common practice. However, adult drivers are still allowed to use their phones for calls without texting or browsing the internet. The new law would prohibit all hand-held use.
If passed and enacted, all drivers would be barred from talking while driving. The only exception would be the use of Bluetooth or other hands-free accessories, but only for adults.
Accusations of legislating “good judgment”
A sponsoring legislator referred to the proposed law as a way to “change the culture of distracted driving” and put an end to the numerous accidents caused by the practice. Opponents see the bill as unenforceable while attempting to legislate good judgment to law-abiding and safe-driving state residents.
A first offense would result in a $150 fine and two license suspension points. A second violation within 24 months would mandate a $250 penalty, with three more points. Future offenses would result in $500 and four points for each violation.
A 2021 survey by the Colorado Department of Transportation revealed that 91% of Coloradans confessed to distracted driving. 54% admitted to reading texts, with 50% talking on their phones without hands-free devices. The previous year saw more than 10,000 car accidents caused by this form of distracted driving, with almost 1,400 injured and nearly 70 killed.
The bill becoming law would make Colorado the 25th state banning cell phones. Previous attempts fell short, with one passing in the state Senate, only for a House committee to reject it.
With the possibility of severe consequences for using a cell phone while driving, the help of a criminal defense attorney is essential to prevent suspension or revocation of a driver’s license.