In 2017, Colorado passed a state law for cellphone use and driving: In summary, you can and you cannot. If it causes distracted driving, you are out of luck.
Texting fines in Colorado spiked up to $300 a pop, quite a stretch from the original penalty of $50. It’s not clearly advertised that texting is legal, but drivers might catch a break when it comes to cell phone usage. Regardless, it’s important this sense of freedom doesn’t overshadow exactly what the state law implies.
The state prohibits texting while driving under certain circumstances. It’s not allowed if it interferes with a driver’s ability to safely operate their vehicle. Officers use their own discretion to determine if you are driving in a careless manner.
Problems occur when drivers act irresponsibly despite the consequences. Rather than practicing safe driving, some might be more focused on not getting caught. On the other hand, Colorado drivers can rest easy when answering back to a few texts at the stoplight.
Young drivers – under the age of 18 – are still prohibited from talking or texting on their cellphones while driving. The fine, however, is less steep at $50 for the first offense and $100 for the second.
Observing the law
To receive a citation for texting behind the wheel, the officer must first observe you using your phone. Then, they can proceed to pull you over if they notice you are not regarding the road. Weather conditions add another layer to the mix. There are examples of warning signs officers look for, which includes:
- Not looking at the road
- Not yielding to traffic signs
- Not using turn signals
- Swerving or drifting outside of the lane
People will translate state laws in various ways. The key takeaway: Regardless of whether texting is legal or illegal, drivers are wise to put the phone away when in motion. Officers are unconcerned about how you spend time on your cellphone. Rather, their top priority is the general safety of the public. It’s best to overall avoid texting while driving, as it opens the door to carelessness and distractions.