Colorado's distracted driving laws prohibit text messaging for all drivers and talking on a cellphone for only certain drivers. This article discusses the specifics of what the laws prohibit and the costs of a texting or cellphone ticket.
For most Colorado motorists, there are no restrictions on talking on a cell phone while driving. But for underage drivers there are restrictions.
In many states, drivers who are at least 18 years old can use a cell phone while driving so long as it's hands-free operation. But in Colorado, even handheld cell phone use is permitted for adult drivers.
For motorists who are under the age of 18, Colorado law prohibits using a cell phone while operating a vehicle. Notably, there's no exception for hands-free or voice-operated technologies.
The underage cellphone ban doesn't apply to calls made to contact a public safety entity or during an emergency.
An underage cellphone ticket is a class A traffic infraction and costs $50 for a first offense and $100 for a second or subsequent offense. The violation will also add one demerit point to the motorist's driving record.
Texting while driving is illegal for all Colorado drivers, regardless of age.
Colorado's distracted driving law makes it illegal to use a wireless telephone for text messaging (or other similar forms of manual data entry or transmission) while operating a motor vehicle. However, police are allowed to cite motorists for texting only if the violation caused the motorist to drive in a "careless and imprudent" manner.
The texting ban doesn't apply to using a wireless telephone to contact a public safety entity or during an emergency.
Standard violations. Generally, a texting ticket is a class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense and carries a fine $300 and four demerit points.
Injuries and deaths. Texting violations that lead to bodily injury or the death of another person are class 1 misdemeanors and carry ten days to one year in jail and/or $300 to $1,000 in fines. The driver will also be looking at four traffic violation demerit points for the ticket.
Depending on the circumstances, a texting or cell phone violation could also lead to a reckless driving conviction. And if one of these violations results in the death of another person, vehicular homicide charges are a possibility.