Distracted Driving Laws in Colorado
Each day, the act of distracted driving in Colorado causes an average of 40 crashes throughout the state. Moreover, preoccupied motorists caused 67 traffic-related fatalities during the 2016 year and 61 deaths in 2013. While local distracted driving facts show that younger motorists are more likely to drive distractedly than experienced motorists, driver distractedness is a major issue amongst all age groups and experience levels. For instance, 29.3 percent of all at-fault traffic crashes between 2012 and 2015 were caused by drivers between 21 and 30 years of age, while 17.5 percent were caused by motorists between 31 and 40 years of age. Around 15.7 percent of collisions were caused by drivers younger than 20 years of age.
To prevent texting and driving accidents in CO and to reduce instances of traffic-related fatalities, the act of reading and sending text messages is prohibited amongst all drivers in the state. To learn more about these distracted driving laws in Colorado, review the information below.
What is distracted driving in Colorado?
While most Colorado texting and driving laws pertain to reading and responding to text messages while operating a motor vehicle, other types of distractions are just as dangerous. For instance, other driving distractions may include talking on the phone, interacting with other passengers, eating or drinking, reading a newspaper or searching for a lost or misplaced item.
Generally, distractions involve any type of activity that diverts the driver’s attention away from the road ahead. Even simple activities such as drinking coffee, applying makeup or reading maps can be dangerous while operating a motor vehicle. According to local facts about distracted driving in CO, driver distractedness causes a minimum of 50 traffic-related fatalities each year.
Distracted Driving Laws in Colorado for Handheld Devices
Under the CO distracted driving law, adult drivers may use handheld mobile devices while operating a motor vehicle in the state, but they may not use an electronic device to read or send text messages. Therefore, handheld devices may only be used for making or receiving voice calls. To prevent distracted driving accidents while talking on the phone, adult motorists may use a hands-free device such as a Bluetooth or headphones. However, motorists may only wear headphones on one of their ears, and hands-free devices are not required.
Texting and Driving Laws in Colorado
The act of texting while driving in Colorado is prohibited amongst vehicle operators of all ages. To prevent texting and driving accidents, the state prohibits the act of reading, writing and sending text messages or emails while operating a motor vehicle. Using an electronic device to browse the internet while driving a car is also prohibited. Moreover, engaging in any type of manual data entry is prohibited amongst Colorado motorists. However, as an exception, drivers of any age may use an electronic device while operating a motor vehicle in an emergency situation. For instance, potential emergencies may include the need to report an unsafe driver, a fire, a serious traffic accident or crime or a potential road or materials hazard.
Colorado Laws on Distracted Driving for Novice Drivers
Any type of cell phone use while driving is prohibited amongst drivers who are 18 years of age and younger. Under this CO distracted driving law, novice motorists cannot use an electronic device to read and send text messages or to make and receive phone calls. However, novice drivers may use their cell phone if they need to report a crime, accident or an unsafe motorist as an exception.
Colorado Distracted Driving Regulations for CDL Holders
The act of texting and driving in Colorado or engaging in any type of handheld phone-related activity is prohibited amongst commercial vehicle operators in the state. Not only are commercial drivers banned from writing or reading text messages while operating a commercial vehicle, but they are also prohibited from using a handheld electronic device to make phone calls. If commercial vehicle drivers or school bus operators violate these laws, then they may lose their driving privileges and they may need to pay a penalty fee of up to $2,750. However, commercial vehicle operators may use a mounted device for hands-free voice communication purposes in most cases.
Distracted Driving Penalties in Colorado
If motorists break any laws against distracted driving in Colorado, then they will need to pay a fine of between $50 and $1,000, depending on whether the offense is their first violation or a subsequent offense. Additionally, all motorists acquire between one and four driving record violation points after breaking these local laws. Several distracted driving consequences include the following examples:
- Minors who commit a Class A infraction must pay a $50 fine after their first violation and a $100 fine after their second or any subsequent infractions. Additionally, each infraction results in the accumulation of one violation point.
- Adult motorists who commit a Class 2 misdemeanor must pay a $300 fine after their first offense. Additionally, they will accumulate four driving record violation points.
- Adult drivers who commit a Class 2 misdemeanor that results in the death or bodily injury of another individual must pay a $1,000 fine and/or they may be subject to one year in prison. Additionally, motorists receive four demerit points on their driving records.
Ways to Prevent Distracted Driving in Colorado
The act of texting and driving is a serious and potentially deadly traffic offense. For this reason, CO distracted driving laws prohibit the use of cell phones amongst novice drivers. Additionally, drivers of all ages and experience levels are prohibited from using cell phones for the purpose of manual data entry (such as texting, emailing or browsing the internet). However, motorists can reduce other driving distractions by performing the following:
- Turning their phones off before turning their vehicle on
- Hiding their mobile device in a safe, hard-to-reach location
- Mounting their phone to their vehicle’s dashboard if they wish to use the device for GPS purposes
- Downloading a safe-driving app such as Life Saver, AT&T DriveMode, SafeRide, True Motion Family and Driving Detective