DENVER — For the third straight year, legislators have proposed a bill that would require drivers use hands-free devices to use cellphones while driving.
SB20-065 was introduced Wednesday morning by Sen. Lois Court (D-31) and Rep. Dylan Roberts (D-26).
The proposed bill would require police officers to witness someone using their cellphone while driving to issue a citation. Those tickets would start at $50 and increase with repeat offenses.
“We just want people to put their phones down and concentrate on driving,” said Susan Dane.
Dane has been pushing for the change ever since 2016, when two friends were killed by a distracted driver outside of Franktown.
That driver was sentenced to 20 years in prison for drinking and texting at the time of the crash.
“People call them accidents. Those are not accidents,” said Dane. “They’re crashes, and they’re preventable tragedies.”
Similar bills were defeated in 2018 and 2019. Requests for comment from Roberts on why this year will be any different were not returned.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado says the proposal opens the door for racial profiling by police and says statistics on the topic are inconclusive.
“The data is inconclusive that these sort of laws really do prevent the hands-free issue altogether, or even prevent the kinds of accidents that proponents claim they will prevent,” said Denise Maes with the ACLU. “I’d rather do something that will really solve the problem.”