We all try to multitask in the modern world, but when it comes to texting while driving, no message is worth a life.
Texting while driving kills people in Colorado. In January of this year, Brian and Jacquie Lehner, a couple, died while on their motorcycle when struck by a woman who was drunk and texting while driving. Family and friends of the victims of these crimes go through unimaginable grief that is entirely preventable, if individuals would just realize their actions could take a life. I believe we at the State Capitol had a responsibility to do something about this, which is why we passed a bill we hope will help save lives.
This legislative session, I was proud to sponsor Senate Bill 17-027 with Democratic State Rep. Jovan Melton of Aurora, which increases the fine for texting while driving. After productive discussions with our colleagues, the bill passed out of the General Assembly with broad bipartisan support — 34-1 in the Senate and 56-8 in the House. On June 1, at the District 3 Substation of the Denver Police Department, surrounded by supporters of all ages, we proudly watched Gov. John Hickenlooper sign this bill into law. The fine for texting while driving will now be $300 and 4 points. That’s a significant increase from the previous $50 and 1 point. Our hope is that the public will understand the seriousness of texting while driving and will realize that this increase is a statement that we care deeply about public safety in Colorado.
My friends from the group CORD, Coloradans Organized for Responsible Driving, have lost loved ones because other drivers were texting and driving. These CORD members worked hard to help advance this bill forward and deserve lots of credit for the momentum behind this new law.
In 2015, 17 car wrecks that resulted in deaths were caused by those drivers using cell phones. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, drivers who text are over 20 times more likely to crash — that is an enormous increase in risk. This is a problem that unnecessarily puts Coloradans in unsafe situations that are easily preventable.
The new law will draw attention to the problem and make drivers think more consciously about choosing not to text while driving. You, too, as a citizen can make a difference by discussing this behavior with your family, friends, and colleagues. The more that people understand this life-and-death issue, the more lives will be saved.
Even if the new law won’t prevent all accidents involving cell phone use, if we save just one life with this policy, it will be tremendously successful. It is my hope that with this new law, more Coloradans will “Put Down The Phone” the next time they are tempted to text while driving. No text is worth a life.
A measure to increase the penalty for texting while driving passed its first test on Wednesday, though sponsors had to decrease the proposed fine. After two weeks of negotiations, Senate Bill 27 was amended to increase the penalty for texting while driving to a $300 fine and four points against the violator’s driver’s license for […]
When it comes to texting while driving, some lawmakers say, “It can wait.” That’s the message state lawmakers considered Wednesday when they heard a measure that would increase the penalty for text messaging while driving. Lawmakers delayed a committee vote on the measure until next week, as bill sponsors work on amendments, in which they could […]
DENVER - Happy Thursday from all of us here at The Colorado Statesman. Call it voter fatigue or possibly apathy, but mainstream media appears to have run out of steam. Don’t you think? For many of those reporters, the 2016 election can’t end fast enough. Now that voter guides are posted, endorsements are proclaimed, most media outlets are looking forward to the post election night parties … Sadly, many voters may agree ...
But "don't let it end!" say political wonks everywhere already in search of their next gig.
The First Shot
“I’m just glad I wasn’t in there when he was in there … I would’ve sacked him. I really would’ve did that. The both of them.”
— Broncos linebacker DeMarcus Ware after learning police had caught the thieves who broke into his home