Governor signs bill into law to dramatically increase penalties for texting while driving

DENVER — Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill into law Thursday that imposes stricter penalties for people convicted of texting while driving.

The law increases the penalty for a first offense from a $50 fine and one point on a driver’s record to a $300 fine and four points.

Drivers will only be cited if they use a device that led them to drive “in a careless and imprudent manner.” That would prevent citations for people texting at a red light as opposed to while driving.

The Senate passed the measure in March and the House approved it in April.

The Colorado Department of Transportation said in 2015, there were 68 deaths and more than 15,000 crashes in the state that involved distracted drivers.