This bill changed the law in Colorado for cell phone use while driving. Previously C.R.S. § 42-4-239 only prohibits drivers operating under a driver’s permit from using cell phones while driving unless they are contacting a public safety entity, are parked, or during an emergency. Additionally C.R.S. §42-4-239 is classified as a SECONDARY offense and cannot be used as pretext to stop a driver and contact them. The new law (HB 09-1094) goes into effect December 1, 2009 and drastically changed that law.
HB 09-1094 will make it illegal for minor drivers to use their cell phone at all while driving. Additionally, for the first time in Colorado, it will affect adult licensed drivers. Adult drivers will be prohibited from using any form of text input on their cell phone while driving. This means no text messaging, emailing, or otherwise using your phone outside of making a phone call while driving. This is a nationwide trend that Colorado is now adopting. Originally the bill would have prohibited all drivers (minors and adults) from using anything but a hands free device. Fortunately, the bill was significantly watered down prior to being signed into law.
However, the main change enacted by HB 09-1094 is changing the old law from a SECONDARY offense, to a PRIMARY offense. The effect of this change is that an officer may now stop someone that is using their phone in contradiction to this new law or even if the officer believes the person to be doing so. This means police now have another reason to stop the drivers of the State of Colorado. This is certainly a change that will affect the citizens of the State of Colorado’s contact with police. It is a troubling change in my opinion.
While we hope you benefit from the information we posted above, it is important to note that we always suggest you contact an attorney to advise you and walk you through the legal process so that you can achieve the best possible result.