Colorado Bans Texting While Driving for Adults, All Cell Phone Use by Juvie Drivers

On the last day of the legislative session, the Colorado Senate passed a bill banning adults from texting while driving. The original proposal also prohibited talking on a cell phone without a head set, but that was dropped.

For drivers 18 and under, all cell phone use while driving is prohibited. The law goes into effect December 1.

I wonder how a cop is going to be able to tell if you are texting or checking your voicemail or using the internet to say, check a google map. Sounds to me like a lot of people will be stopped for investigation of texting and then show what they were doing or looking at on their phone to convince the cop they weren't texting.

This sounds like a law that will do nothing but increase traffic stops and decrease privacy rights.

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    We have this covered... (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by kdog on Thu May 07, 2009 at 01:53:10 PM EST
    its called reckless driving, covers all of it....having a seperate law for drinking, drugging, texting, eating, drinking, reading, applying make-up, playing with the radio, etc. is overkill and just enables abuse by law enforcement and the racking up of the fines.

    Enough is enough Big Brother...jeez, you'd think Colorado and the other states passing this type of crap didn't have real issues to deal with....like potential bankruptcy.

    Keep in mind... (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu May 07, 2009 at 02:07:04 PM EST
    ...that a great deal of legislation in this state occurs because a member, or a family member or close friend, is effected by something they don't like.  

    In Colorado, it is usually the well-connected squeaky wheel that gets the grease.  

    That being said, if RD covers all of this, then it should be enforced.  I'm so tired of getting behind these dangerous, inconsiderate, self-absorbed idiots on the interstate and surface streets.  

    /put the phone down and $&@^@(# drive!


    I share your sentiments... (none / 0) (#6)
    by kdog on Thu May 07, 2009 at 02:12:42 PM EST
    about inconsiderate drivers...but a nanny state where picking your nose and driving is regulated is a heckuva lot worse way to live than a dealing with free inconsiderate knuckleheads.

    And it ain't just Colorado...the bad law response to a tragedy phenomenon applies to all 50 states and the feds...probably the world.  I'd bet its why Muslims and Jews can't eat pork...one connected soul got sick on swine way back when and ruined it for everybody:)


    Mile, if you get that angry while driving (none / 0) (#45)
    by easilydistracted on Thu May 07, 2009 at 05:10:50 PM EST
    you might want to flip something a bit more soothing into that eight track. (I couldn't resist).

    Heck no problems here with defining it as reckless driving, I can't text anyway.


    You, especially, (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu May 07, 2009 at 05:55:19 PM EST
    shouldn't be driving and texting or phoning. ;-)

    I never could get the hang of texting (none / 0) (#48)
    by easilydistracted on Thu May 07, 2009 at 06:23:42 PM EST
    anyway. Maybe it has something to do with being a land-line?

    More impatient... (none / 0) (#51)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu May 07, 2009 at 07:55:35 PM EST
    ...than angry.  Oddly enough, while I lack an 8 track, I do have a cassette player in the truck.  No cassettes any more aside from my Polish Language tapes though.  

    Now that the weather is nice, I can open the sunroof and blast Sublime via this new-fangled Compact Disc player thingie on the way home.  That does help a tad.    


    Whoa, Mile with a CD player... (none / 0) (#52)
    by easilydistracted on Thu May 07, 2009 at 09:22:37 PM EST
    I'm impressed. But be careful with that player while driving. You might become distracted trying to find Peg or Deacon Blues on Aja and, heaven forbid, an accident. And that could be fodder for a new statute barring CD adjustments while driving.

    I recall the weather in early May in Denver as being just great. Shorts and short sleeves during the day but a sweatshirt is required as the sun goes down. I enjoyed that type of weather. No spring in DFW this year. 75 degrees for a low tonight and low 90s for a high tomorrow. I've had the central air on for well over a month.    


    i almost got run off the road today... (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Dadler on Thu May 07, 2009 at 02:10:01 PM EST
    ...by a guy yapping on the phone held to his ear.  with my little boy in the car at the time, needless to say i was gritting my teeth and holding down the instinct to pull him over myself for a little citizens, um, arrest.  i, for one, am increasingly fed up with people driving as if they simply don't care if you or anyone else dies because of their thoughtlessness and selfishness.

    that said, i'm not into expanding laws like this.  if a cop sees you talking on the phone, or thinks you're driving recklessly, or whatever, they have plenty of legal grounds to pull you over.  

    I think they should make it easy (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu May 07, 2009 at 02:15:49 PM EST
    and ban all cell phones while driving.
    if its really important take the chance of getting a ticket or put the damn phone down and drive.

    not the hands free kind (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu May 07, 2009 at 02:19:08 PM EST
    that seems reasonable.  but if it takes one of your hands to do it you should get a ticket if you do it while operating a deadly weapon.  which is exactly what a car becomes when used by some idiot with a cell phone stuck to one ear.

    oh (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu May 07, 2009 at 02:20:55 PM EST
    and theaters should absolutely start using jamming devices.

    Hard to do when the cops (5.00 / 0) (#44)
    by coast on Thu May 07, 2009 at 04:03:57 PM EST
    themselves talk on their phones while driving.

    That's not easy... (none / 0) (#15)
    by kdog on Thu May 07, 2009 at 02:32:50 PM EST
    Banning everything that could possibly cause someone to be reckless is the opposite of easy.  A law against reckless driving is easy, and the legislators are home in time for supper where they can't do any more prunning of the liberty tree:)

    totally disagree (none / 0) (#17)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu May 07, 2009 at 02:36:22 PM EST
    states need revenue?  no problem.  ban all cell phone usage while driving and ENFORCE THE SH@T OUT OF IT.
    easy as pie.

    Extortion is no way... (none / 0) (#23)
    by kdog on Thu May 07, 2009 at 02:43:42 PM EST
    to raise revenue...aka sending men with guns to shake you down regardless of whether you put anybody at risk or not.  

    Do you think it is impossible to use a cell or gps or whatever and drive safely?  I don't...that might be where our opinions differ.  If you can juggle while driving and do it safely I say knock yourself out...its a free country.  But once you swerve out of your lane, tailgate, or crank it up to 85...then you get the ticket.  Like I said...easy, and the criminal code isn't so clogged with bullsh*t.


    sorry (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu May 07, 2009 at 02:49:31 PM EST
    I think that is not one bit different that saying if you can safely drive drunk knock yourself out.
    no one can drive safely while dealing with a hand held cell phone.  no one.
    not even me although I have to admit I have done it.
    but even tho I have done it I would welcome a law.  and if I got stopped while yakking I would pay the fine just like I do speeding fines.

    I don't do it... (none / 0) (#31)
    by kdog on Thu May 07, 2009 at 02:57:24 PM EST
    because the cell is always off on the dresser...but when I'm a passenger and the driver does it I don't feel any less safe. That's where we differ...fair enough my friend.

    More than anything I hate giving John Law another reason to get his snout in your drivers side window...we got enough of those.  And I'm willing to accept that everytime you start the engine your life is at risk....the one time the raod almost took my life a sober driver with two hands on the wheel was the culprit.

    So whats the point when the only thing that matters, the only thing that truly puts anybody at risk, is recklessness?


    I agree there are plenty (none / 0) (#34)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu May 07, 2009 at 03:02:21 PM EST
    of stupid necessary reasons for piggy to stick his snout in your drivers side window.  and some not stupid ones. this one, I think, would not be stupid.  but it will never happen.  know why?
    its mostly upscale white people who would complain.

    I have close calls all constantly (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by SOS on Thu May 07, 2009 at 02:17:27 PM EST
    with idiots on cell phones if it wasn't for everyone else defensive driving against them the roads would resemble a demolition derby or worse.

    i actually had a guy honk at me... (none / 0) (#13)
    by Dadler on Thu May 07, 2009 at 02:28:23 PM EST
    ...on the freeway the other day, while he was tailgating me at 70mph AND blabbering into his phone.  then, to top it off, i see him in the rearview angrily motioning with his free hand, the only one he had to steer with, waving it at me and pointing to say "get over already, jerkoff, so i can pass you!"

    nice world.


    Sorry, I didn't realize that was you. :-) (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu May 07, 2009 at 02:44:27 PM EST
    also (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu May 07, 2009 at 02:24:46 PM EST
    I saw a guy on a motorcycle using a hand held cell phone the other day.  which obviously he could not have done if he was wearing a helmet.

    I thought, there a Darwin award contestant.

    They shouldn't be checking a map either. (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Addison on Thu May 07, 2009 at 02:26:28 PM EST
    They shouldn't be playing with a phone doing anything at all while driving. If you need to look at a map, pull over. If you need to text someone, pull over. If you need to use the internet, pull over.

    I hope as many people as possible get pulled over if they're using their cell phone like this while driving (I am marginally less against merely talking, as you can still look at the road while talking).

    Privacy rights end on the federally-funded highway when you're driving a multi-ton death sled and not looking at the road.

    YES! (none / 0) (#14)
    by jbindc on Thu May 07, 2009 at 02:32:22 PM EST
    Privacy rights end on the federally-funded highway when you're driving a multi-ton death sled and not looking at the road.

    Exactly!  They end when you interfere with my right and everyone else's right to be safe.


    I should be clear... (none / 0) (#18)
    by Addison on Thu May 07, 2009 at 02:38:56 PM EST
    ...that of course I do NOT mean that illegal searches and seizures and justified if you get caught breaking this law. Merely that you don't get privacy as to what it is you were doing with the cell phone is out the window. I'm not saying, "hey, you texted, so we're gonna look in your trunk" is an okay response by the police.

    What mangled sentences I have written. (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Addison on Thu May 07, 2009 at 02:41:52 PM EST
    Do not try to listen to language learning tapes and type blog entries at the same time. Nothing gets done right.

    To respond to what others have said on this thread elsewhere, reckless driving laws are inadequate, to me, in these cases. To me texting while driving is analogous to drinking while driving, and being seen texting is analogous to having an open container in your car or being seen drinking out of a longneck beer bottle. Of course in the case of bottles it could be root beer or near beer. In the case of cell phone usage it's not nearly as ambiguous.


    I get it (none / 0) (#22)
    by jbindc on Thu May 07, 2009 at 02:42:59 PM EST
    But you are on a public road, and when you endanger people while on a public road, your right to privacy (as far as being able to text while you drive) is secondary.  

    Where is the danger? (none / 0) (#25)
    by kdog on Thu May 07, 2009 at 02:45:40 PM EST
    I see the danger in swerving out of your lane, the danger of driving 85, the danger of tailgating...using a phone is not inherently dangerous, some people can handle it and some can't...we should only be concerned with those who can't....those who drive recklessly.

    You don't see the danger (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by jbindc on Thu May 07, 2009 at 02:51:22 PM EST
    Of someone not watching the road or having one or both hands on the wheel because they are too busy texting?

    Daydreaming... (none / 0) (#33)
    by kdog on Thu May 07, 2009 at 03:02:19 PM EST
    can be more dangerous than that.

    Get John Law some brain scanners!


    They tend to not see pedestrians (none / 0) (#43)
    by nycstray on Thu May 07, 2009 at 03:52:13 PM EST
    stepping off the curb when paying attention to texting/google maps etc. Even if they do manage to perform a full stop at the sign, they're too wrapped up in what they are doing to check the crosswalk before moving on.

    Try thinking about just how much safety (5.00 / 0) (#41)
    by Anne on Thu May 07, 2009 at 03:39:41 PM EST
    there really is in steering a couple thousand pounds of metal and glass down a concrete highway, even if you are (1) alone in the car, (2) have both hands on the wheel, (3) are observing the speed limit and driving consistent with the weather and road conditions, and (4) wearing a seat belt.  

    The only thing you have any control over - to the extent one can - is what you are doing; you have no control over the idiot in the car next to you, who could be three sheets to the wind, or the car behind you, who thinks sitting a foot off your back bumper is enough of a safety zone, or the tractor-trailer being driven by a guy who hasn't had the required number of hours off the road and hasn't had enough sleep, or the car full of teenagers coming back from a football game who aren't paying attention, or the car up ahead with the elderly driver who doesn't see the car in the lane next to him when he heads toward the exit.

    Or, like what happened to me a couple of years ago.  I was driving to work, sunny morning, not a lot of traffic, and there was a dump truck full of stone maybe a quarter mile ahead of me on the road up ahead.  The truck started dropping chunks of stone out of the gap between the bed of the truck and the back gate - the truck hit a bump and several large slabs of stone fell out, hit the concrete, and started sliding all over the road, and every driver in every car in the vicinity all of a sudden had to figure out what to do, where to go, watch out for the stone and keep an eye on where all the other cars were.  I had a big piece fly up and crack my windshield  - I was lucky it didn't come through the windshield.  One of the sliding chunks/slabs ended up in my lane, and after considering all the options in the milliseconds available, I ended up having to drive over it.  In the process, it ripped my oil pan and when all was said and done, caused $2,700 worth of damage.

    I, fortunately, was unhurt, no one else hit me, no one else hit anyone else, and I was able to get the attention of the truck driver at the traffic light at the end of the expressway to tell him what was happening (I may have been screaming this at him), and get his information The company's owner later refused to admit to the incident - nice, huh?

    Anyway, my point is that even when you are in what you think is complete control, you are still at the mercy of everyone else on the road.  Cars are for getting from Point A to Point B: they are not offices or entertainment centers.  They are not rec rooms.  We were not meant to change clothes or polish our nails or read the newspaper while driving.  If bans on cell phone use or texting are too threatening to some people's ideas of what it means to be free, all I can say is, tough.  When you live on an island, all by your lonesome, knock yourself out - text away; when you share the road with others, consider it the price you pay for the privilege of driving.  

    Or don't drive - take the bus and text away in glorious freedom.

    IMHO (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by MrConservative on Thu May 07, 2009 at 03:44:53 PM EST
    You should pull over to check a google map.  Taking your eyes off of the road to actually type in and search your location is a huge safety risk.

    If someone is driving and (none / 0) (#2)
    by nycstray on Thu May 07, 2009 at 02:02:37 PM EST
    checking google maps, they really need to pull over, imo.

    Texting while driving (none / 0) (#4)
    by SOS on Thu May 07, 2009 at 02:07:23 PM EST
    that's truly brilliant.

    I ride a motorcycle to work (none / 0) (#19)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu May 07, 2009 at 02:40:13 PM EST
    a lot.  two days ago I was almost forced off the freeway by a woman who had a cell phone in one hand was applying makeup with the other and smoking a cigarette.
    I swear to god I am not making this up.

    I have no doubt she probably reading a newspaper and eating as well but I did not actually see those.


    What TL said, plus (none / 0) (#16)
    by scribe on Thu May 07, 2009 at 02:36:00 PM EST
    it will encourage warrantless tracing of where your cell phone is - if it's operating and moving at 45, 55, 65 mph ....

    Maybe, although CA banned texting and cell phone use by drivers unless using a speaker or headset and it seems to be very rarely enforced. Google says it's enforced pretty strongly in NY.

    It's that way here (none / 0) (#26)
    by jbindc on Thu May 07, 2009 at 02:48:52 PM EST
    Virginia's law goes into effect in July, Maryland just passed a ban (or is about to pass it), and it's been illegal in DC since 2004. There are at least 8 other states that ban it.  

    banning texting and not all cell phones (none / 0) (#29)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu May 07, 2009 at 02:52:13 PM EST
    seems a little silly to me.  how could you possibly enforce that?

    In DC (none / 0) (#35)
    by jbindc on Thu May 07, 2009 at 03:23:01 PM EST
    It is illegal to talk on a cell phone while driving, unless you have hands free.  They are very strict about it and will pull you over in a heartbeat.

    I don't know about Virginia, but Maryland is going to take up cell phone use again next fall.


    It's local option here... (none / 0) (#30)
    by tokin librul on Thu May 07, 2009 at 02:55:08 PM EST
    You can get a ticket driving with a hand-held phone to your ear in Santa Fe and Albuquerque.

    I think it should be a state law, ESPECIALLY texting, which requires that you take your hand off the wheel AND your eyes off the road...

    Imho, driving is dangerous enough without the distraction of trying to do 'business' in the process...

    I dont understand (none / 0) (#32)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu May 07, 2009 at 02:58:23 PM EST
    how a cop could know if you are texting or dialing.
    couldnt you just say you were dialing?

    is there something I am missing?


    Well, (none / 0) (#37)
    by Bemused on Thu May 07, 2009 at 03:31:51 PM EST
     if he sees you tapping the keys of a device he has cause to pull you over. If the law in the jurisdiction only bans texting he should let you go if you show you were not.

      While I share the concern about some cops abusing these laws with selective enforcement  and  pretextual stops, there is little question about the dangers created by using phones/text messaging while driving.

      I'm also not sure these laws will increase the pretext stop problem because cops can already pull people over on claims of minor moving violations and in many places  excessive window tint, noise violations and so forth.


    No one should be allowed to talk on a cell phone (none / 0) (#36)
    by ericinatl on Thu May 07, 2009 at 03:30:37 PM EST
    or text while driving.  It is an incredible hindrance to traffic flow and an incredible safety hazard.  People need to focus on the road -- hands-free talking is probably okay, but driving is a 2-hand activity and requires all of one's visual attention.

    Driving while talking is illegal in Connecticut. (none / 0) (#38)
    by AX10 on Thu May 07, 2009 at 03:32:05 PM EST
    The only dangerous part of using a phone while driving is the dailing.  Talking is not.
    Besides, I have seen many cops breaking the law, but that is o.k because they are the government.

    By the way (none / 0) (#39)
    by ericinatl on Thu May 07, 2009 at 03:32:16 PM EST
    I do not think that cops will be enforcing the law except after the fact of an accident -- this should be enough of a deterrent.

    Selective enforcement: (none / 0) (#49)
    by easilydistracted on Thu May 07, 2009 at 06:28:17 PM EST
    Officer, what was your probable cause for stopping my client and searching the vehicle? Answer: The driver appeared to be fiddling with a cell phone.  

    Bingo.... (none / 0) (#50)
    by kdog on Thu May 07, 2009 at 07:04:56 PM EST
    to hell with that.

    I'd rather resign to the fact that people are often inconsiderate idiots...creating more criminal code and fining up the wazoo ain't gonna give us anything but more grief.

    Cars are death traps, people weren't meant to travel at high speeds in a ton of plastic and metal...it is what it is, keep your head on a swivel.


    what's the difference? (none / 0) (#54)
    by BobTinKY on Fri May 08, 2009 at 08:08:05 AM EST
    Officer, what was your probable cause for stopping my client and searching the vehicle?

    Answer: The driver was operating his vehicle in a reckless manner.

    Same problem and it is not the laws on safe driving, it is the court decisions on search and seizure.  


    Here is what started... (none / 0) (#40)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu May 07, 2009 at 03:34:24 PM EST
    ...the push for the legislation in Colorado.

    A Fort Collins woman who struck and killed a 9-year-old girl with her SUV last year says she's sorry for the accident and admits her cellphone likely caused Erica Forney's death.

    In a letter written as part of her plea agreement, Michelle Smith, 36, said police told her a cellphone call she had just finished distracted her enough to drive head-on into the girl.


    Ban all cell phone use while driving (none / 0) (#47)
    by Lora on Thu May 07, 2009 at 06:16:45 PM EST
    Lordy lordy, how did we EVER manage in the days before cell phones?  Imagine, driving without communicating with someone not in your car.

    Here's an idea...turn the dam' things OFF before getting behind the wheel!  Do your googling and map reading before taking a ride.

    I have absolutely no sense of direction.  Without fail, I get lost every time I go to a new location, and sometimes in locations I've been to before.  However, I have never texted while driving and I have rarely called and spoken to someone for directions while driving.  I find a place and pull over.  And I have no problem with asking storekeepers, gas station employees, etc, for directions.  I will now NOT call anyone while driving.  I will pull over first.

    We don't need any more ways to kill ourselves and each other.  Ban cell phone use while driving.  It's a public safety issue.

    From "Texting while driving - a major no-no," Automotive Fleet:

    In December 2006, a 71-year-old woman was awarded $4.1 million because a company driver ran a red light. He was distracted by his BlackBerry's navigation, which he was using to help locate his destination, and crashed into the woman, leaving her with serious and permanent injuries. The situation would have been avoided had the driver kept his eyes on the road and both hands on the steering wheel.

    I don't see how enforcing RD laws (none / 0) (#53)
    by BobTinKY on Fri May 08, 2009 at 08:05:00 AM EST
    will address the invasion of privacy concerns any better than a litany of laws prohibiting various activites one should not be enaged in while driving.  Both approaches involve pulling someone over.  

    Drivers should not be texting, using the phone, or googling or getting GPS directions while driving.  Pull over, shut the car off and do it.