The O’Sullivan Law Firm supports Colorado’s SB20-65, introduced on January 8, 2020, to limit the use of mobile electronic devices while driving. After many years witnessing first hand the devastation that distracted driving can cause, we’ve committed to work with Colorado Senator Lois Court, the original sponsor of the bill, along with Representative Dylan Roberts to pass stricter laws to prevent people from using their phones while driving.
Does this bill ban all mobile device use while I’m driving?
It will still be okay to use hands-free devices while you’re driving.
What counts as a hands-free device?
Colorado is one of four states where it’s completely illegal to drive with headphones on, so we don’t advise that you switch to headphones. However, you can use other bluetooth devices, such as your car’s built-in bluetooth system, or use voice activated devices like Siri. You can also just put your phone away! Lock it in the glove box or center console, or leave it in your backpack or purse. There are even apps that will prevent you from using your phone while driving. Most of the time you don’t need to have your phone out, and keeping it within reach will just tempt you to check it when you should be focusing on the road.
Is using a cell phone while driving really that dangerous?
Yes. When you use your mobile device while driving, you are highly distracted; there’s no way around that. And distracted driving is dangerous driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving was responsible for more than 3,000 traffic deaths in 2017. Sharing the road with a distracted driver is particularly dangerous for motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
Is there an exception to this law for emergencies?
Yes, there are exceptions in cases of emergency:
1) An exception is made if a person has reason to fear for their life or safety or believes that a criminal act may be perpetuated against the person or another person
2) They are reporting a fire, traffic accident in which one or more injuries are apparent, a serious road hazard, a medical or hazardous material emergency or a person who is driving in a reckless, careless or otherwise unsafe manner
What will the penalties be for using a device while driving?
The text of the bill clearly states the penalties: “$50 and 2 points for a first violation, $100 and 2 points for a second violation, $200 and 4 points for a third or subsequent violation, and $300 and 4 points if the violation involves text messaging.”
What if I suspect someone was using their phone when they hit my car?
Make sure you tell the police and/or state in your accident report that you suspect the other driver was using their phone. When you contact us for support if you’re a car accident victim, please tell us if you suspect the other driver was using their phone or otherwise distracted.
How can I go hands-free?
Last February we published a blog post to help you get started driving hands-free. Check it out – you may be surprised at how easy it is to put down your phone and focus on the road.
As a side note, in mid-January, Senator Lois Court stepped down from her position due to serious health concerns. We thank her for her tireless efforts to support our cause of keeping people safer on Colorado roads and wish her well as she strives to regain her health. We are currently awaiting news of who will be helping us move the bill forward for the 2020 legislative sessions.