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Colorado to add another distracted driving law?

Colorado law prohibits texting while driving, but one lawmaker says the statute doesn't go far enough.

A Denver TV station reports that the Aurora representative wants to prohibit people from using apps on their phones while they're behind the wheel or making calls from handheld devices. His bill to add another traffic offense to our laws is to be discussed in committee this week.

He said that while drivers are currently prevented from texting, they’re not prevented from starting other smartphone applications up. “You could be sitting in traffic playing Angry Birds – and that’s totally legal,” he said.

His bill would also prevent motorists from making calls unless it’s for an emergency or from a hands-free device.

A similar law took effect in Illinois at the beginning of the year. Stores there reported soaring sales of hands-free devices which enable users to make calls using voice commands rather than pushing buttons on a phone.

The Colorado State Patrol says distracted driving is a serious problem. Of the approximately 27,000 car accidents in 2008, almost 5,000 were reportedly caused by inattentive motorists.

Last year, Colorado State University conducted a study that found that just over 15 percent of drivers in our state are distracted while behind the wheel.

The top distraction: cellphones; in second place, drivers who are eating and drinking.

The new proposal would make use of a hand-held cell phone punishable like the texting ban: a $50 fine for a first offense (plus a point added to the driving record), $100 fine for a second offense (plus a point added to the driving record).

For some motorists, even a single point added can mean the difference between being able to drive and having their license suspended or restricted. An experienced attorney can help guide drivers through a DMV point suspension hearing. 

Source: CBS, "Colorado Looks To Restrict Cellphones In Cars," March 6, 2014

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