Colorado bill aims to increase texting and driving penalty to $500 fine

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DENVER -- Texting and driving will be a major topic for Colorado lawmakers on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 17-027 will be presented in front of a Senate committee for the first time at the State Capitol.

Currently, the penalties for texting and driving are one point on a driving record and a $50 fine for a first-time offense. The bill proposes an increase of those penalties to five points and a $500 fine.

“We think life is worth more than that,” said Susan Dane, the co-chair of Coloradans Organized for Responsible Driving.

Dane and many others kick-started CORD after two loved ones, Brian and Jacquie Lehner, were killed when their motorcycle was struck by an impaired and texting driver.

“Their death was caused by a distracted driver that involved texting and when we started looking into the texting and driving penalties for the state of Colorado, we were appalled with what we found,” Dane said.

State Rep. Jovan Melton sponsored the bill and agrees the penalties for texting and driving in Colorado are not up to par.

“We looked at what other states were doing and we saw that Colorado was one of the lowest fining states,” Melton said.

Melton added that the proposed penalties in Senate Bill 27 are in the middle compared to other states.

“By increasing the fine and increasing the number of points, we’re hoping that law enforcement will do their due diligence and make it much more worth their time for stopping people doing this and at the same time the public will take this much more seriously,” he said.

Melton encouraged the public to attend Wednesday’s hearing at 1:30 p.m., where many are expected to give personal testimony.

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