Colorado Outlaws Texting and Teen Cell Phone Use While Driving
It’s the law.
Beginning December 1, 2009, Colorado law makes texting while driving illegal. So, if you’re thinking about sending or reading a quick message, either by texting, tweeting or email, you’ll want to think twice. If you’re caught, penalties range from a $50 fine (a class-A traffic infraction) for a first offense to $100 for multiple offenses. Additionally, the new law bans anyone under the age of 18 from using a cell phone while driving.
Colorado Governor Bill Ritter signed House Bill 09-1094 (PDF) earlier this year in Fort Collins where 9-year old Erica Forney was killed by a driver talking on a cell phone.
Exceptions to the Colorado Texting Law
Exceptions to this law include emergencies defined as “a situation in which a person has reason to fear for such person’s life or safety or believes that a criminal act may be perpetrated against such person or another person,” and “reports a fire, a traffic accident in which one or more injuries are apparent, a serious road hazard, a medical or hazardous materials emergency, or a person who is driving in a reckless, careless or otherwise unsafe manner.”
The Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) safety research estimates that cell phone use by drivers caused approximately 955 fatalities and 240,000 accidents overall in 2002.