State legislators are considering an expansion to the current cell phone laws for Colorado motorists. Current law prohibits cell phone use for drivers under 18 years old and texting while driving for everyone.
Colorado lawmakers want to extend that law to ban all cell phone use for drivers regardless of age. The new bill, Senate Bill 19-012, would also prohibit the use of all mobile electronic devices, not just cell phones.
New exceptions and penalties
The bill offers exceptions for using hands-free devices and using a mobile device in an emergency. The bill would repeal a sentence enhancement for a violation that causes bodily injury or death.
The bill would include the following update to penalties:
- $50 and two points for a first violation
- $100 and 2 points for a second violation
- $200 and 4 points for a third or subsequent violation
- $300 and 4 points if the violation involves text messaging
Senator Lois Court (D-Denver), who co-sponsored the bill with Representative Jovan Melton (D-Denver), said in a committee meeting that holding a phone while driving is a lower threshold than texting while driving, which is why the penalties are set up in this manner.
Current state of the bill
The Colorado Senate’s Transportation and Energy Committee and the Appropriations Committee both approved the bill, and it is on its way to the Senate floor. If it passes, it will go to the House Judiciary Committee before reaching the House floor and the desk of Governor Jared Polis.
Colorado drivers over 18 years old may want to follow the bill’s progress to stay informed on what behaviors are and are not legal when it comes to technology use on the road.