In July 2016, as Craig Towler unloaded a cooler from the trunk of his car outside his house, a distracted driver slammed into his roommates’ car, crushing Towler between the two vehicles.

Towler lost both of his legs and spent a month in in-patient care at Boulder Community Health.

That experience is the main reason the Boulder resident is advocating for a bill being considered by the state legislature that would fine all drivers for using a cell phone while driving without a hands-free device.

“It’s felt important for me to share my story so people understand the impacts of distracted driving and how big a responsibility it is for individuals to be driving,” Towler said.

“It’s something that we need to take seriously,” he added. “This bill moving forward that can kind of help incentivize people to not use their phones while driving by getting ticketed for it, I think is a really positive step in the right direction to encourage people to make smarter decisions about what they’re doing when they’re behind the wheel.”

Senate Bill 175 was approved by the Senate in mid-April and it passed through the House Transportation Committee earlier this week.

Current Colorado law prohibits a person who is under 18 years of age from using a mobile electronic device when driving.

The new bill, if approved, would apply this prohibition to a person who is 18 years of age or older unless using a hands-free accessory.

It also includes a number of exemptions, including for people reporting an emergency to state or local authorities; utility service providers; first responders; and people operating a commercial truck with a mobile data terminal that transmits and receives data.

The currently proposed penalties:

  • For the first offense, a person would receive a $75 fine and two license suspension points.
  • For a second offense within two years, a person would receive a $150 fine and three license suspension points.
  • For a third or subsequent offense within two years, a person would receive a $250 fine and four license suspension points.

A provision within the bill offers the possibility that the violation could be dismissed if a person has not previously committed a violation, provides proof of purchase of a hands-free accessory and affirms that they have not previously used this option to dismiss.

If approved, the bill would keep the current requirement that a police officer who makes a traffic stop must record the demographic information of the violator, whether a citation has been issued and the violation cited.

But it also clarifies that an officer must now record whether the law has been violated.

This demographic data is intended to demonstrate whether bias is playing a role in who is being pulled over for using a phone without a hands-free device.

Concerns about people of color being targeted by law enforcement contributed to a similar bill failing in an earlier legislative session.

“Being a Latino myself, I understand the concerns from the Black and brown community that this might be another touchpoint for police officers and what can happen especially in light of that,” Rep. David Ortiz said. “We just want to make sure that this is enforced equitably and making sure that we are saving lives without causing damage to communities of color.”

In addition to Ortiz, Sens. Chris Hansen and Rhonda Fields and Rep. Dylan Roberts are the prime sponsors of the bill.

Much like Towler, Ortiz’s support for the bill is personal. One of his cousins was killed by a distracted driver.

Aside from Towler, other groups in Boulder County, including Cyclists 4 Community and the Northwest Mayors and Commissioners Coalition, are listed as supporters of the bill.

Locally, Boulder has implemented a number of efforts meant to prevent serious crashes, including its Vision Zero and Safe Streets initiatives.

Boulder adopted its Vision Zero goals in 2014, becoming part of a national network of communities that are striving to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries.

But the city recently reported that severe crashes, or those that result in death or an incapacitating injury, have remained steady in Boulder with anywhere from 55 to 60 a year since 2016.

However, hands-free laws have proven effective in other states. Twelve of 15 states saw an average of a 16% reduction in fatal crashes within two years after their hands-free law passed, according to federal highway safety data provided by proponents of the bill.

Additionally, the North American Actuarial Journal, estimated that primary hand-held bans for all drivers lead to a reduction in injury liability claims of about 9.2% in any given year during the post-ban period.

“Not only are we saving lives, but we’re going to be saving Coloradans’ money,” Ortiz said.

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In July 2016, as Craig Towler unloaded a cooler from the trunk of his car outside his house, a distracted driver slammed into his roommates’ car, crushing Towler between the two vehicles.

Towler lost both of his legs and spent a month in in-patient care at Boulder Community Health.

That experience is the main reason the Boulder resident is advocating for a bill being considered by the state legislature that would fine all drivers for using a cell phone while driving without a hands-free device.

“It’s felt important for me to share my story so people understand the impacts of distracted driving and how big a responsibility it is for individuals to be driving,” Towler said.

“It’s something that we need to take seriously,” he added. “This bill moving forward that can kind of help incentivize people to not use their phones while driving by getting ticketed for it, I think is a really positive step in the right direction to encourage people to make smarter decisions about what they’re doing when they’re behind the wheel.”

Senate Bill 175 was approved by the Senate in mid-April and it passed through the House Transportation Committee earlier this week.

Current Colorado law prohibits a person who is under 18 years of age from using a mobile electronic device when driving.

The new bill, if approved, would apply this prohibition to a person who is 18 years of age or older unless using a hands-free accessory.

It also includes a number of exemptions, including for people reporting an emergency to state or local authorities; utility service providers; first responders; and people operating a commercial truck with a mobile data terminal that transmits and receives data.

The currently proposed penalties:

  • For the first offense, a person would receive a $75 fine and two license suspension points.
  • For a second offense within two years, a person would receive a $150 fine and three license suspension points.
  • For a third or subsequent offense within two years, a person would receive a $250 fine and four license suspension points.

A provision within the bill offers the possibility that the violation could be dismissed if a person has not previously committed a violation, provides proof of purchase of a hands-free accessory and affirms that they have not previously used this option to dismiss.

If approved, the bill would keep the current requirement that a police officer who makes a traffic stop must record the demographic information of the violator, whether a citation has been issued and the violation cited.

But it also clarifies that an officer must now record whether the law has been violated.

This demographic data is intended to demonstrate whether bias is playing a role in who is being pulled over for using a phone without a hands-free device.

Concerns about people of color being targeted by law enforcement contributed to a similar bill failing in an earlier legislative session.

“Being a Latino myself, I understand the concerns from the Black and brown community that this might be another touchpoint for police officers and what can happen especially in light of that,” Rep. David Ortiz said. “We just want to make sure that this is enforced equitably and making sure that we are saving lives without causing damage to communities of color.”

In addition to Ortiz, Sens. Chris Hansen and Rhonda Fields and Rep. Dylan Roberts are the prime sponsors of the bill.

Much like Towler, Ortiz’s support for the bill is personal. One of his cousins was killed by a distracted driver.

Aside from Towler, other groups in Boulder County, including Cyclists 4 Community and the Northwest Mayors and Commissioners Coalition, are listed as supporters of the bill.

Locally, Boulder has implemented a number of efforts meant to prevent serious crashes, including its Vision Zero and Safe Streets initiatives.

Boulder adopted its Vision Zero goals in 2014, becoming part of a national network of communities that are striving to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries.

But the city recently reported that severe crashes, or those that result in death or an incapacitating injury, have remained steady in Boulder with anywhere from 55 to 60 a year since 2016.

However, hands-free laws have proven effective in other states. Twelve of 15 states saw an average of a 16% reduction in fatal crashes within two years after their hands-free law passed, according to federal highway safety data provided by proponents of the bill.

Additionally, the North American Actuarial Journal, estimated that primary hand-held bans for all drivers lead to a reduction in injury liability claims of about 9.2% in any given year during the post-ban period.

“Not only are we saving lives, but we’re going to be saving Coloradans’ money,” Ortiz said.

, Colorado’s distracted driving bill finds support in Boulder , Deborah Swearingen , 2022-05-07 02:01:54 , Boulder Daily Camera , https://www.dailycamera.com/wp-content/uploads/migration/2017/0702/20170702_03DCACRAw-1.jpg?w=1400px&strip=all , https://www.dailycamera.com/wp-content/uploads/migration/2017/0702/20170702_03DCACRAw-1.jpg?w=1024&h=670 , [rule_{ruleNumber}] , [rule_{ruleNumber}_plain] , , , https://www.dailycamera.com/2022/05/06/colorados-distracted-driving-bill-finds-support-in-boulder/ , https://www.dailycamera.com/2022/05/06/colorados-distracted-driving-bill-finds-support-in-boulder/ , www.dailycamera.com , https%3A%2F%2Fwww.dailycamera.com%2F2022%2F05%2F06%2Fcolorados-distracted-driving-bill-finds-support-in-boulder%2F , Colorado News,Latest Headlines,Local News,News,Politics,Transportation, #Colorados #distracted #driving #bill #finds #support #Boulder