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New Colorado Driving Law
New Colorado Driving Law

New Colorado Driving Law

New Colorado Driving Law – Restricts Cell Phone Use While Driving

A new Colorado Driving law restricts the use of cell phones while driving in the wake of two highly publicized deaths of 9-year-old Erica Forney and 63-year-old Jim Price.  Colorado Governor, Bill Ritter, signed House Bill 09-1094 in June, 2009 in Fort Collins where Erica Forney was struck and killed by an inattentive driver.

The inattentiveness caused by cell phones while driving is staggering.  Studies show that the use of cell phones while driving is as dangerous as driving after consuming four alcoholic beverages.  In addition, cell phone use while driving is four times more likely to cause an accident than drivers not using their cell phones. The second highest cause of accidents in 2009 was inattentive driving, following speeding.  4,691 accidents in 2008 were attributed to inattentive driving; this category includes talking on cell phones.

Cell Phone While Driving - Texting, Emailing, Twitter While Driving

The new law in Colorado, effective December 01, 2009, bans the use of cell phones for drivers under the age of 18 at all times.  In addition texting, emailing and twittering are banned for all drivers (House Bill 09-1094, 2009).

Cell phone use is permitted in the case of emergencies. 

Emergencies are defined as when a person (House Bill 09-1094, 2009):

  • Has reason to fear for his or her life
  • Believes that a criminal act may occur to oneself or another
  • Reports a fire, traffic accident, road hazards, medical or hazardous materials
  • Reports a person driving in a reckless, careless or unsafe mannerHowever, if you can’t wait to pick up the cell phone while driving, cell phone use is permitted in designated parking areas or in the shoulder lane.

Colorado Driving Law - Penalties

The Colorado driving law restricting cell phone use is a Class A traffic offense.  The law requires officers to witness the offense before issuing a ticket.  First time offenders are ticketed $50.  Second time offenders are ticketed $100. 

Alive at 25 – Educating Teenage Drivers about Safe Driving

Cell phone use in a car is a hazard at any age.  With young drivers being more affected by distractions, the stricter law for drivers under age 18 aims to address concerns of additional distractions, namely cell phone calls, texting, emailing and twittering.  The allowance of hands free devices for drivers 18 and older will set a positive example of responsible cell phone use within the cars.  Parents of young drivers will be the best example of safe driving practices by adhering to the new Colorado laws.

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