[Clouds ahead! Colorado mountain driving. Photo: Mr. Nixter] Cell phone use while operating a motor vehicle is seldom a good idea, especially in a mountainous, woodsy state like Colorado. The laws around text messaging and talking while driving are often wondered.
Cell phones are the main reason behind distracted driving, which cause a high number of accidents across the country. Be safe while driving on your Colorado road trip. Stay safe and aware while behind the wheel.
Can you talk on a cell phone and drive in Colorado?
Adult drivers– Yes, 18 and over are permitted to use their handheld phone for calls while driving. Headsets are allowed in 1 ear for phone calls. Remember listing to music on your headphones is not legal while driving.
Minor drivers – No, those under 18 are not allowed to use their phone in any way while operating a motor vehicle. Fines and 1 point on your license for each offense.
Can you text message and drive in Colorado?
Adults drivers – No, 18 and over are prohibited from manual data entry, which includes text messages and using the internet. Adults can receive up to 4 points on their 1st offense and a $300 fine.
Minor drivers – No, people under 18 are prohibited from sending messages, browsing the internet, or any manual input on their phone.
The only exceptions to the above policies are in emergency situations. However, in order to be issued a ticket, the police officer must see you operating your vehicle in a careless way. A matter which can be interpreted differently.
Here is the official enforcement from the Colorado General Assembly:
Enforcement. Distracted driving violations are primary offenses. Current law states that a law enforcement officer must see the use of the mobile device to transmit data and that the driver was operating the motor vehicle in a careless or imprudent manner in order to issue a citation.
Basically if you’re not being careless while driving while talking or texting, you probably won’t get pulled over if you are 18 and over. This is Colorado’s cell phone use law. Each state varies. However, use some common sense because it affects your awareness. Wait until you reach your destination. You’ll feel better for having not reached for your phone at every intersection and dull moment.
Laws are subject to change. AAA has updated distracted driving laws by state.
Distracted Driving Safety Tips for Better Awareness
The world is full of distractions for today’s drivers, from smartphones to billboards to the increasing availability of fast food options. In fact, distracted driving is the leading cause of car accidents in the United States and while some are minor, others are deadly.
It takes a little willpower to become a better driver, but the benefits are worthwhile. Health and safety are definitely the top priority, but they’re complemented with a host of other positive side effects, from better health to cheaper car insurance rates. If you’re ready to become a better driver, follow these steps for a safer commute in no time.
Americans are busy, so it’s pretty common to see people chowing down on meals and snacks while they’re behind the wheel. Plan ahead and try to avoid eating while driving altogether by prepping meals and snacks the night before. If you’ve got to eat while you’re out, take a moment to park and eat your food then. It’s better for your digestion not to multitask while eating, so you’ll be able to enjoy your food and process it better. If nothing’s going to stop you from eating on the road, opt for a smoothie or protein shake with a straw to keep your eyes on the road and at least one hand on the wheel.
Create a Playlist You Love
Changing stations or switching songs can pull your eyes down much longer than you think. Instead of having to consistently push buttons or scroll through your device, create a playlist full of songs you love from start to finish. You won’t have to worry about the constant distraction of skipping to the next tune. For longer drives, select a podcast or audiobook for continuous play.
Give Facebook and Twitter a Rest
People love interacting on social media and it’s become a major source of communication and connection in the 21st century. Remember that no matter how pressing it may seem, it can wait. Disable notifications from your phone so you won’t be tempted to peek at a stoplight. If you’re addicted to these platforms, carve out time in your schedule to check them right before you depart so you’ll be more likely to take a break on your commute.
Research Your Route Ahead of Time
GPS is a really handy tool that helps drivers navigate in unfamiliar territory or avoid traffic and delays. Don’t wait to map out your route until you’ve shifted the car in drive. Take a moment to skim through your upcoming route so you’re familiar with which turns you’re taking and you won’t have to constantly focus on something other than the road ahead. Don’t forget to turn up the volume so you can hear the directions clearly and consider a mount for your device so you can see the map easily.
Driving is a convenient way to get where you need to go, but it comes with a tremendous amount of responsibility. Practice good habits to eliminate distractions so you can keep the road safe for yourself and others.