On May 17, the Colorado House and Senate sent a “Mobile Electronic Devices & Motor Vehicle Driving” bill to the governor prohibiting a driver, 18 years of age or older, from using a mobile device unless it is a “hands-free accessory.” 

The penalty is a $75 fine for the first offense, a $150 fine for the second offense within 24 months of the previous incident, and a $250 fine on the third offense. 

Under current Colorado law, drivers under 18 are already prohibited from using a mobile device while operating a vehicle.

“Senate Bill 65 is one of those things that is very personal to me, personal because I have been hit twice as a bike commuter,” state Sen. Chris Hansen (D-Denver), a sponsor of the bill, told Colorado Public Radio.

“I feel this every day as a bike commuter,” he said. “I feel this every day as a dad, with my kids on their bikes, trying to navigate around Denver.” 

According to a survey conducted by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), more than 75% of drivers use their mobile devices at the wheel. In 2022, there were 69 fatalities that involved a distracted driver. 

“The consequences of distracted driving can be fatal, and we are counting on Coloradans behind the wheel to be aware of our roads at all times,” said CDOT’s Office of Transportation Safety Director Darrell Lingk in a press release. “Resist temptations like checking your phone or eating while driving. Whatever it is, it can wait until you have reached your destination.” 

According to Col. Matthew C. Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol, it only takes a second for something to go wrong when you are a distracted driver. 

The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies noted that 3,500 people die each year in a car accident when the vehicle is traveling 55 mph to 80 mph, due to a distracted driver. 

“By Oct. 1, 2024, the executive director or executive director’s designee shall, in consultation with the chief of the Colorado State Patrol, create a culturally and linguistically competent campaign raising public awareness of the requirements of section 42-4-239 and of the danger of using mobile electronic devices when driving,” states the bill, which has to be signed by Gov. Jared Polis to become law.