I have written several articles about the perils of distracted driving and, sadly, it feels like our daily news is full of stories about the tragic results of accidents caused by distracted drivers. Many states have banned the use of all mobile devices while driving. Now, finally, Colorado is poised to join them.
Help Pass This Law!
Senator Lois Court has introduced a bill called “The Use of Mobile Electronic Devices While Driving Act.” It would essentially make it illegal to use a mobile device in your car with your hands. However, using hands-free technology to operate your mobile device is allowed in this bill. Basically, your eyes need to stay on the road and your hands need to stay on the wheel.
Colorado law has long made it illegal for drivers under 18 to operate mobile devices and that law remains. This new law makes it illegal for adults, too. Senator Court’s bill would:
- Establish a penalty of $300 per violation
- Extend the existing prohibition of the use of wireless telephones to include all mobile electronic devices; and
- Create an exception to the prohibition for adult drivers who use a mobile electronic device with hands-free technology
We’re talking about an action that can kill – has killed – far too many people.
I’m asking for your help in passing this bill! First, it has to make it through the State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee, which is anything but an easy pass. I’m guessing that some of the people on this committee will claim that $300 is too high a price to pay for violating this law. But we’re talking about an action that can kill – has killed – far too many people on Colorado’s roads. The penalty needs to be high in order to change the driving habits of Colorado’s drivers.
What Can You Do to Support this Distracted Driving Law?
Call or email each of these senators immediately and ask them to support this bill:
- Senator Lois Court: 303-866-4861, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Senator Stephen Fenberg: 303-866-4872, email@example.com
- Senator Vicki Marble: 303-866-4876, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Senator Owen Hill: 303-866-2737, email@example.com
- Senator Jerry Sonnenberg: 303-866-6360, SenatorSonnenberg@gmail.com
In your message, you might use the following language:
“Senator [name], Please support the bill titled, ‘The Use of Mobile Electronic Devices While Driving Act.’ It’s important to make Colorado’s roads safer for everyone! I support this bill, including the $300 fine, and I hope you will, too.”
The committee will be hearing testimony about this bill on Wed., January 24 and I will be there to speak on behalf of its passage. In my profession, I have seen far too many victims of distracted driving accidents. In a way, it is against my own financial interests to seek the passage of this bill, but I’m not thinking about my firm or my career as I speak on behalf of this bill; I’m thinking of my family. I want to make Colorado’s roads safer for everyone and I want my children safe when they walk, bike and eventually drive on Colorado’s roads.
If you’re the kind of person who needs evidence that distracted driving is killing people on Colorado roads, read the following from the Colorado Department of Transportation:
- Distracted drivers cause an average 40 crashes each day in Colorado
- In 2016, 67 deaths involved Colorado distracted drivers.
- Distracted driving fatalities are increasing in Colorado. In 2015, 68 (13 percent) of the 546 Colorado traffic fatalities were caused by distracted driving. In 2014, 59 (12 percent) of the 488 Colorado traffic fatalities were caused by distracted driving.
- Distracted driving is a problem across all age groups. CDOT found that 37.4 percent of Colorado distracted driving crashes between 2012-2014 was people between the ages of 21 and 34.
- Preliminary data indicates that in 2015, cellphones were a contributing factor in 17 fatal Colorado crashes.
- Ninety-eight percent of national survey respondents know distracted driving is dangerous; nearly 75 percent admit to having done it. —Center for Internet and Technology Addiction
- Eighty-four percent of respondents support measures prohibiting any physical interaction with cellphones. —2015 State Farm Report
Read that last bullet again: 84% of respondents to a 2015 State Farm survey support measures prohibiting any physical interaction with cellphones! You could cite this statistic when you call the senators, also.
Additionally, this bill has received endorsements from the following groups:
- Coloradans Organized for Responsible Driving (CORD)
- American Bikers Aimed Toward Education (ABATE)
- American Automobile Association (AAA) of Colorado
- Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety
- Colorado State Patrol Department of Public Safety
- Bicycle Colorado
- Bike Blue
- 39 local cycling business from across Colorado (full list available upon request)
- Colorado Bikers
- Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association (RMIIA)
- National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC)
- Property and Casualty Insurance Association of America (PCI)
- Colorado Rider News
- The O’Sullivan Law Firm
- Colorado District Attorneys Council
- Colorado Motor Carriers Association
Please, take five minutes to call or email the senators that I’ve listed above and share your support of this bill. Also, if you’d like to join me on Wednesday, Jan 24, the meeting will be held at 1:30pm in room 271 of the Colorado General Assembly building, 200 E. Colfax Avenue, 80203.
Let’s make Colorado’s roads safer!