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Texting While Driving Now Legal In Colorado -- In Some Cases (kdvr.com) 95

Fines for texting and driving in Colorado have jumped to $300, but according to the fine print, the increased fine only applies to drivers who are texting in "a careless or imprudent manner." Therefore, drivers who are texting in any other manner are still within the law. FOX31 Denver reports: Before the new legislation, any texting while driving was illegal. Tim Lane of the Colorado District Attorney's Office confirmed the softening crackdown on all texting and driving. "The simple fact is that if you are texting while driving but not being careless, it's no longer illegal," he said. What constitutes "careless" driving is up to the discretion of each individual law enforcement officer. Cellphone use of any kind is still banned for drivers younger than 18. Teens caught with a phone in hand while driving will be slapped with a $50 fine.
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Texting While Driving Now Legal In Colorado -- In Some Cases

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  • until the robots take the wheel
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I live in Ontario, Canada, and we are not allowed to even hold our unpowered cellphones [ontario.ca] while stopped at a red light, let alone text on it.

    • Then don't hold them. Why would you need to hold a phone in order to send text messages?
  • BS... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by JediJorgie ( 700217 ) on Friday June 23, 2017 @06:40PM (#54678805)

    In my opinion any law that is that subjective should be considered unconstitutional since it can easily abused by individual law enforcement to harass those they do not like.

    • You seem to be referring to the principle of a law being arbitrary and capricious [thefreedictionary.com], but laws are very rarely struck down on these grounds.
      More likely, someone with a good lawyer appeals a conviction based on what satisfies "careless or imprudent", cites that there's nothing to be cited, and therefore no basis for establishing the existence of "careless or imprudent", the judge shrugs and throws out the conviction. Once this catches on, cases will be dismissed outright unless a cop presents evidence that's

  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Friday June 23, 2017 @06:45PM (#54678823) Homepage Journal

    Suck up to the cop and maybe you'll get a pass; piss him off and you've just coincidentally committed a serious but ostensibly unrelated crime.

    And unless they collect information on people "carefully and prudently" texting and driving (whatever the hell that is) we'll never know whether the law is the same for everyone... but I have a sneaking suspicion that it won't be.

    • on the minorities without being too obvious about it. Crap like this is how segregation is enforced. I wish I was joking/trolling, but a good buddy of mine is both black and a truck driver and the stories. Not from the deep South (they wouldn't send him there) but from places like California & Utah you'd think would be cut and dry.
    • by Kohath ( 38547 )

      Not really. You get one of these tickets now, you go to court and the cop has to make his case that you were "careless and imprudent" to a judge. Before, all he had to tell the judge was that you had a phone in your hand.

  • by tdelaney ( 458893 ) on Friday June 23, 2017 @06:58PM (#54678911)

    So which politician got caught?

  • by oldgraybeard ( 2939809 ) on Friday June 23, 2017 @07:01PM (#54678921)
    So instead of having a simple concise law that can be enforced! NO texting while driving. We now have a useless law that brings in carelessness and intent.
    Since it is so easy for government, lawyers and judges to interpret what someone was thinking and capable of.
    I think this is just trial lawyers looking to make money when people die because of others carelessness and stupidity, but as long as the lawyers make big bucks. After all government is just what you can buy.
    • So instead of having a simple concise law that can be enforced! NO texting while driving. We now have a useless law that brings in carelessness and intent.

      Person in this county got a lawyer to fight him riding a motorcycle without a helmet.
      Lawyer got the court to admit it couldn't define what a proper helmet was and the law struck down till it came to a discession.

      So one summer we all drove without helmets but carried them when we crossed county lines.

      The court came back that fall that as long as it had a DOT sticker/label it was proper.

  • Would not work (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Misagon ( 1135 ) on Friday June 23, 2017 @07:12PM (#54678989)

    The point of having a law that bans texting while driving is to prevent accidents, not to punish people who cause accidents.
    Therefore, having a law worded to ban only "careless or imprudent manner" is effectively pointless for prevention.
    No idiot who is going to cause an accident will believe beforehand that they are going to do so. That is why accidents are called "accidents".

    • by Kohath ( 38547 )

      California has a law against texting or using your phone while driving. People generally do it anyway. No accidents are prevented.

      Why shouldn't we be able to defend ourselves in court by saying we were texting while safely stopped at a red light?

      • by dryeo ( 100693 )

        Are you the jerk who was besides me texting at a red light and when the left turn green came on and he saw the car besides him moving he drove into the middle of the intersection and disrupted all the left turning drivers. You're right that the speeds are usually low enough that actual accidents are usually prevented but it is still an arsehole move.
        Bad enough when the traffic doesn't start moving until the light is yellow due to some entitled bastard having to finish texting.

        • by Kohath ( 38547 )

          All that complaining and nothing about safety. Bad manners aren't a police matter.

    • by Ichijo ( 607641 )

      No idiot who is going to cause an accident will believe beforehand that they are going to do so. That is why accidents are called "accidents".

      No, accidents are called accidents because there's no criminality [citylab.com].

      • No, collisions are defined as accidents when there is no criminality by the NYPD. That doesn't change the definition of the word "accident" which is any incident that is caused unintentionally or unexpectedly.

  • Is hands-free and eyes-free texting okay? Sometimes, in the car, I say, "Siri, read my text messages," and she does. And then I might say, "Siri, text Jane Doe, I'm on my way home now, be there in ten minutes, send," and she sends it.

    My hands are on the wheel and my eyes are on the road 100% of the time. Is that considered "texting and driving"?

    And if that's a problem, how is it different from talking on the phone via car Bluetooth? Or talking to a passenger? Or listening to the radio?

    • by jsm300 ( 669719 )

      Well, it's a lot different from listening to the radio, since music typically is just a background activity, and even if you are listening to news / talk, you don't have to respond. It's really a question of how much concentration is required to talk vs. send a text, and whether that concentration distracts you from your primary responsibility, which is to drive the car safely.

      In my opinion, even this type of texting takes more concentration than talking, since people tend to start talking without really

      • by Teckla ( 630646 )

        Great comments, thanks.

        For what it's worth, Siri reads back the text before asking if you'd like to send it. If you don't respond, the text is abandoned. Great feature, that way you can ignore Siri entirely if you spot a road hazard, or something.

      • Well, it's a lot different from listening to the radio, since music typically is just a background activity, and even if you are listening to news / talk, you don't have to respond. It's really a question of how much concentration is required to talk vs. send a text, and whether that concentration distracts you from your primary responsibility, which is to drive the car safely.

        Uh, music is more than just a background activity to a lot of drivers. And a lot of people yell back at talk radio. Of course, you are too attentive to the road to notice what other drivers are doing, right?

        Got a new car with a touch screen factory radio. It takes more attention to select music or a podcast through it than to do the same from my phone, but the radio is safer to use because, well, just because, right?

        How about some numbers [nhtsa.gov]? In 2015, distracted driving was a factor in 10% of accidents an

  • by Snotnose ( 212196 ) on Friday June 23, 2017 @07:52PM (#54679175)
    I check texts when at a red light. I do not check them barrelling 80 MPH down the freeway.

    Yet California treats both cases equally. Oddly enough, I have a magazine in my car that I read while stopped at a red light. This is fine and dandy. So, um, What's This Feature?
    • by Calydor ( 739835 )

      Have you EVER received a text that was of such urgency that it could in no way have waited until you got to your destination?

    • I check texts when at a red light.

      You're an idiot who should be paying attention to what is going on around you and not holding up traffic or being in a situation where you're unable to respond to a change in road conditions (e.g. an emergency vehicle coming through, someone turning a corner too tight, or the light changing).

      Here's an idea: You're not that important. You're especially not important if someone decides that you're not even worth a phone call. Check your texts when you get there, or have someone call you on a hands free.

    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      I check texts when at a red light. I do not check them barrelling 80 MPH down the freeway.

      So you're the arsehole causing the traffic jam by sitting at a green light with your head buried in your phone.

      There's a reason they're treated equally, you're a danger in either situation.

  • - Streamlined penal code
    Article 1: ”it is illegal to do things that a police officer finds reprehensible”.
    The end.

    Having ambiguous laws that effectively leave most of the decision to the discretion of law enforcement is a great way to confuse everybody, signal that those laws are not that important, make police jobs more difficult, increase the risk of corruption, and foster resentment and suspicion of double standards.

    Hey, lawmakers, how

  • It's nice to see a government where citizens are sometimes respected and treated like adults. Texting while stopped at a stop light is safe.

    Levying fines against stop light texting is unjust and treats citizens like cattle to be randomly milked for money.

    What kind of jerk wants their fellow citizens fined for no legitimate purpose?

    • Most of the assholes that I see texting while driving are adults. They obviously know that doing so puts the life of other people, adults and children alike, in peril, but they still do it because every single one of them is genuinely convinced that, unlike others, he is doing it safely and carefully.
  • This can only mean a few things: either judges or politicians are willing to bend the laws to keep texting and driving without any care for public safety. There are no other reasons to make ambiguous laws that goes against what studies have already proven.

  • How many people who text (or yak on the phone) while driving ever think "Holy crap, this is dangerous! I am a normal human being, and am not well suited to be doing this. It is clearly unsafe."

    I would bet almost none. They all think that they are somehow superior to everyone else and can do it safely.

    And then when they kill a dozen people, they are all "I'm so sorry."

  • Me: I was merely texting while driving in a way that is pathologically reckless and needlessly put people peoples lives at risk. Can I go now?

    Officer: You're in Colorado, of course you can.

  • "my tesla was in autopilot mode officer"
  • So a adult gets a $300 fine for inappropriate texting. But a teen gets only a $50 one? Leave it to Colorado to make excuses for bad behavior. Any texting would be a distraction by default. But then again since making weed legal traffic accidents and DUI's have gone up significantly. But no fine will stop most from this obsession with instant communication.
  • ...who have never texted while at a red light, or called someone while driving, or otherwise used a cell phone in an illegal way?

    Before you raise your hand and say, "I don't," watch out. Really? Never?

    OK, my 75-year-old father never has. Maybe you're like him. But I doubt it.

    Maybe the law is just catching up with reality.

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