The Colorado Senate recently approved hands-free legislation, which would prohibit drivers from talking on cell phones while behind the wheel unless using Bluetooth or a similar accessory, reports Colorado Politics.
Currently, adult drivers are allowed to use cellphones for calls but they cannot text or search the Internet. If passed, the new legislation — known as Senate Bill 175 — would ban all handheld cell phone use for any purpose.
The evidence indicates that The Centennial State could save lives by enacting a hands-free law. In 2020, there were 10,166 car crashes involving distracted drivers in Colorado, resulting in 1,476 injuries and 68 deaths, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation as reported by Colorado Politics.
Moreover, in 2021, the state experienced an alarming 47% increase in fatal crashes caused by distracted driving, according to the Colorado State Patrol.
Coloradans admit to the risky driving behavior. In 2021, the Colorado Department of Transportation conducted a survey that revealed a staggering 91% of Coloradans own up to driving while distracted. In fact, 54% of drivers said they read text messages while driving and nearly 50% talk on cellphones without hands-free accessories, notes the report.
If the proposed bill passes, offenders caught using their cellphone while behind the wheel would get a $75 fine and two license suspension points for the first violation. If a driver gets another citation within 24 months, they would face a $150 fine and three points for the second offense, and a $250 fine and four points for all subsequent offenses.
Some 24 states and the District of Columbia already have hands-free laws on the books.
Colorado lawmakers have tried unsuccessfully to ban talking on the phone while driving at least three other times. The latest legislation is presently in the House pending consideration.
Nationwide, distracted driving claimed 3,142 lives in 2020 alone, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association.