Fatal traffic accidents have increased in Colorado over the last two years. Officials with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) suspect texting and driving is a main culprit behind the increase. However, we cannot know how many crashes in Colorado are caused by distracted driving. There are other methods for determining how many Colorado motorists may be texting behind the wheel.
Two weeks ago, we wrote about CDOT’s survey and how it tracked bad driving habits in Colorado. The survey discovered 22 percent of respondents had admitted to reading messages while driving. Another 15 percent claimed they had written messages. Could steeper penalties reduce the number of people texting and driving in our state?
Colorado lawmakers want to use new legislation to deter this type of behavior. If Senate Bill 27 (SB 27) passes and is signed into law, the penalties for texting and driving would increase.
What Would Senate Bill 27 Change If It Became a Law?
Under the current law, drivers who are caught texting can face a fine of $50 and may lose one point on their driver’s licenses. The penalties increase to a $100 fine and one point on your driver’s license for subsequent offenses.
If SB 27 becomes a law, drivers could face fines of up to $300. They could also lose four points on their driver’s license (you can lose your license for a year if you lose twelve points). Drivers would also be allowed to text message while stopped at traffic lights. Presently, texting at a red light is against the law.
Should SB 27 pass and be signed into law, Colorado will no longer have one of the weakest fines in the country for texting and driving offenses.