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New bill could ban handheld cell phone use while on the road to all Coloradans

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Current Colorado law prohibits a driver under 18 from using a mobile electronic device while driving, but a new bill would expand that to anyone over 18 unless they're using a hands-free accessory.

A survey by the Colorado Department of Transportation shows more than 90% of Colorado drivers admitted to driving distracted.

CDOT says it takes a split second for a crash to happen.

"Distracted driving and people being on their phones is a huge problem in the state," said Sam Cole with the Colorado Department of Transportation.

According to CDOT, more than 10,000 crashes in 2020 involved a distracted driver resulting in 68 fatalities.

"When we drive we need to have our hands on the wheel and eyes on the road, when you do anything that interferes with that, you are really putting the safety of all roadway users at risk," said Cole.

Some believe SB22-175 would make the roads safer.

"That's a great idea actually, then there will be a lot of less accidents on the road," said Jonathan Martin, a Colorado Springs resident.

Others, however, weren't satisfied with the requirements.

"I tried to do hands-free but obviously it is not always set up that way, so you have to fumble with your phone," explained Collin Borrdon, a Colorado Springs resident. "I think it is a difficult law to try to uphold because you are always on the go."

If passed, a driver would face the following consequences:

  • For a first offense, $150 and two license suspension points
  • For a second offense within 24 months, $250 and three license suspension points
  • For a third or subsequent offense within 24 months, $500 and four license suspension points

There would be exceptions to the law:

  • By a person reporting an emergency to state or local authorities
  • By an employee or contractor of a utility services provider when responding to a utility emergency
  • By a person operating a commercial truck when using a mobile data terminal that transmits and receives data
  • By a first responder
  • By a person in a motor vehicle that is lawfully parked

According to the bill, a peace officer cannot stop a driver or issue a citation unless the officer "visually observes the operator using, holding, or physically supporting" a mobile electronic device.

SB22-175 would need to be passed by the state legislature and then signed off by the governor before becoming law.

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Jasmine Arenas


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