Last summer when Colorado’s new texting-while-driving law went into effect, many were surprised by the new language of the law ― particularly since it appeared to create a loophole that legalized texting while driving for some.
Now, Colorado lawmakers are attempting to close this perceived loophole.
What is the current law?
When the new law became effective last year, we pointed out that adult drivers can only be cited for texting while driving under this law if a police officer actually sees them using their cellphone for texting AND this texting is done in a way that causes the individuals to drive in a “careless and imprudent manner.”
As a result, many believed this law established a loophole in which a violation can only occur when texting drivers are actually driving in a careless or reckless manner, as opposed to any instance of texting while driving, which is what the previous statute outlawed.
Obviously, there were differing views regarding how this law should be enforced, with some claiming that texting was no long illegal as long as the driver was not being careless, while others said that texting behind the wheel is, by default, careless (meaning all texting drivers should automatically be in violation of the law).
These differing opinions may not matter, however, if a recently proposed bill becomes law.
Senate Bill 49
Not only does Senate Bill 49 seek to eliminate the perceived loophole discussed above, but it would also create a broader texting-while-driving ban.
Specifically, it would prohibit all drivers, regardless of age, from using any mobile electronic device while operating a motor vehicle, unless it is an emergency or they need to contact a public safety entity. Drivers over the age of 18, however, would still be able to use a hands-free device.
While it remains to be seen whether this proposed law will gain any traction, it does illustrate just how strict Colorado traffic laws can be ― or at least how strict some lawmakers think they should be.