In view of recent news stories that Colorado police have cracked down on
allegedly distracted drivers, it appears that some drivers are unaware
of the restrictions and prohibitions against certain uses of mobile phones.
Effective December 1, 2009, it became unlawful in Colorado for persons
under 18 to talk on or listen to a mobile phone or to use such a phone
for texting “or other similar forms of manual data entry or transmission”
while operating a motor vehicle.
Certain emergency and public safety exceptions apply to a driver of any age. In addition, a person who holds a valid amateur radio operator license issued by the FCC may properly operate an amateur radio station. Persons 18 or older may talk on or listen to a mobile phone while driving, but may not use the phone for texting or similar uses.
A $50 fine is imposed for a first violation and a $100 fine is imposed for a second or subsequent violation. To constitute a violation, the police officer must actually see the person driving while making a prohibited call or using the phone in a restricted manner. The law does not speak to the issue of who has the burden in court of proving that the phone was used for an emergency or for a public safety use.
In any event, for your safety and the safety of others, you should exercise care and keep your primary focus on driving, even when making lawful use of the phone.
“Colorado Consumers Beware,” Colorado Business Litigation Lawyer Blog, Posted 2/1/2011