DENVER — Fines for texting and driving in Colorado have jumped to $300 and drivers probably have seen the electronic highway signs issuing the warning.
Turns out, there’s some fine print that loosens the law on people with a foot on the pedal and a phone in hand.
The increased fine and a jump to four points instead of one on a driver’s license only applies to drivers who are texting in “a careless or imprudent manner.”
For those who are driving and texting in any other manner, shooting off a text while behind the wheel is well within the law.
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.