No more texting while driving in Colorado
If you are thinking about texting a quick message while waiting at the traffic light, think again. There’s a new law in Colorado effective Dec. 1, 2009, that bans texting on your cell phone while driving. The new law, House Bill 1094, also prohibits a driver’s use of a wireless telephone while a motor vehicle is in motion for the following groups: operators of a motor vehicle who are under 18 years of age, operators of a school bus, drivers of all ages using any type of learner’s permit, and motor vehicle carriers regulated by the public utilities commission. This includes text-messaging, the use of electronic mail and Internet web-browsing and other applications requiring the use of a keyboard. It does not allow for hands-free operation of a cell phone. However, the bill exempts police officers, firefighters and other authorized emergency vehicles from its provisions. House Bill 1094, sponsored by Rep. Claire Levy, D-Boulder, began last year when 9-year-old Erica Forney was riding her bicycle in Fort Collins and was tragically killed by a driver police say was distracted by using a cell phone to text. The new law was first approved by the House Transportation Committee on Feb. 3, 2009, after hearing a heart-wrenching testimony from the victim’s mother. Then on June 1, Gov. Bill Ritter signed the text-banning bill into law for all drivers across the state. Violators of the law can expect a $50 fine for the first offense, which is a class-A traffic infraction and $100 on a second offense.Legislators who sponsored the bill are pleased with the protection for the safety of Colorado people; however they are frustrated that it didn’t include prohibited talking on a cell phone without the use of a hands-free device, as it was in the original proposal. Rep. Levy from Boulder says, “Auto safety laws are proven to save lives and money. Look at mandatory seat-belt laws. And seat belts only protect the user – just like my proposal, this law will protect others as well.”Currently, 19 states and the District of Columbia have now banned text messaging for all drivers. Like many other states, the violation of this text-banning law while driving is a secondary offense. A secondary offense means that the driver using a cell phone must first be violating a primary enforcement law such as reckless driving, speeding or running a red light before they can be ticketed for violating Colorado’s new text-banning law. So keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road, not on your phone.
Midland Avenue: Utility work will be continuing on the shoulder of Midland Avenue near Wulfsohn Road and the Community Center. The speed limit is reduced to 25 mph in that area.Donegan Road: The city of Glenwood Springs and Martinez Western Constructors would like to inform the public that the reconstruction of Donegan Road Phase 3 has started and will be substantially complete by Nov. 30. At this time the construction of the retaining walls east of Vista Drive has begun so all local traffic from Vista Drive and Fairview Drive will be routed to the west until further notice. Travel on Donegan for vehicles and pedestrians will be restricted at times. Local residents within the construction zone will receive postings on their residences when conditions change or special instructions are appropriate. There will be no through traffic between Fairview Drive and Sunny Acres Road during this phase of reconstruction. The city of Glenwood Springs and Martinez Western Constructors would like to thank you in advance for your patience during this phase. Should you have any questions or concerns you may contact the city of Glenwood Springs at 384-6435.For updates on these construction projects and maps of the construction areas, visit the city website at http://www.ci.glenwood-springs.co.us and click on the “Engineering Projects” link.Sabrina Harris is transportation manager for the city of Glenwood Springs.
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