Legal Alert: A Driving Hazard for Colorado Employers - The New Ban on Texting


We've all seen the running video on morning news programs of drivers running into the back of the vehicles in front of them on the highway because the driver was distracted by his/her own texting. As an employer, you may ask yourself "why is this of concern to me?" It should be a concern for employers for two notable reasons: 1) The negligence of your employee may lead to liability on your part; and 2) Colorado law now specifically prohibits this practice while driving.

In its last session, our Colorado legislature successfully passed, and our Governor signed, House Bill 09-1094. House Bill 1094, codified at C.R.S. § 42-4-239 et seq., is entitled Misuse of a Wireless Telephone. This bill, as originally introduced, sought to ban cell phone use entirely while driving, with an exception built in for use of hands free devices. This proposal was met with great resistance, which resulted in amendments to the bill. In summary the new law, as it now stands, restricts drivers under the age of 18 from operating a cell phone whether to make calls, text, or E-mail, and it prohibits all drivers from engaging in the act(s) of texting or E-mailing on a wireless telephone while driving. An exception to this prohibition is in instances qualifying as an emergency as defined by this statute. Persons caught violating the provisions of this law will be fined $50 for the first offense and $100 for all subsequent offenses. The new law takes effect December 1, 2009.

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