The General Assembly of the State of Colorado describes House Bill 1094 as “necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health and safety.” Many students say they agree with the assembly.
Bill 1094 prohibits drivers under the age of 18 from using a cell phone while driving and allows drivers above the age of 18 to use a hands-free accessory. According to the general assembly, any use of a cell phone while driving is deemed illegal excluding extraordinary circumstances dealing with safety. A first infraction would result in a $50 fine and $100 upon a second.
Avery Balsiger, a sophomore speech and language hearing major, acknowledges the dangers behind driving on the phone and admits to doing so herself.
“I’ve come close to getting into so many wrecks while being on a phone,” Balsiger said. “Texting is a big issue too; especially when you’re not even looking at the road. I don’t think it’ll pass and I hope it doesn’t, but at the same time I hope it does.”
The Colorado House approved the bill on April 8 and if passed by the State Senate, the bill is expected to take effect on Dec. 1, 2009.
Some students like Matt Palamara, a senior environmental studies major, don’t mind the change and say it’s a good adjustment.
“I think it’s cool,” Palamara said. “[The bill] isn’t a bad thing. They did it in California and it’s working out there so it can work here, too. Not to mention you can use a Bluetooth so you can still be on the phone – and it’s safer.”
Colorado is not the first state to propose such an idea, so far five states have implemented the bill: California, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Washington. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, the five states allow a hands-free accessory while several other states are trying to ban cell-phone use entirely. The bans are mostly local, not statewide, on teenagers and school bus drivers. The Governors Highway Safety Association also lists seven states with a ban on text messaging while driving.
Sophomore geography major Jake Partin says he is all for the new bill. Being a motorcyclist, Partin has had problems with drivers not noticing him, especially when the drivers were on cell phones.
“I totally support it,” Partin said. “Cell phones inhibit driving abilities and it’s hard to believe people are so attached they can’t put down their phones for 30 minutes. I drive a motorcycle and cars pull into my lane not noticing me—more often than not, the drivers are on cell phones.” So if you have been injured by a distracted driver, you may want to hire a personal injury lawyer. A personal injury lawyer can help to ensure that your rights are protected.