Careless Driving Gets Stiffer Penalties in Colorado
Collisions, wrecks, accidents — call them what you will, they all come down to potentially life threatening episodes. All too often, car accidents occur that should have been prevented, caused by a lack of focus from one or even multiple drivers involved. Fortunately, local legislators are starting to get stricter.
Last week, Colorado passed Senate Bill 204, which places penalties for reckless driving that results in a fatality on par with penalties for drunk driving and hit-and-runs. Currently, careless driving is a four point penalty, but when SB 204 takes effect it will become a 12 point penalty. 12 points is an automatic confiscation of your driver’s license in Colorado.
As content producer Alan Gathright reports on ABC Channel 7 (The Denver Channel), there was some resistance at first:
The House had voted Tuesday to compromise the bill’s penalty to an 8-point violation. Opponents argued that it was unfair to even raise the careless driving penalty to 8 points, saying that would equate the offense with a more serious reckless driving violation.
But when the Senate refused to back down on the bill’s 12-point penalty, the House voted 50-14 for passage of Senate Bill 204.
This change is part of a congressional trend towards new rules on distracted driving. Adam Chodak, Northern Newsroom reporter at 9 News, has a nice piece on the subject. Among other items in the works is this symbolic effort:
More recently, the House and Senate passed a joint resolution in which lawmakers pledged not to use a cell phone while driving. It also encourages [Gov. Bill] Ritter to issue an executive order that requires state employees — emergency responders not included — to put away their cell phone while driving on the job.
Chodak also looks at other legislation related to reckless driving in Colorado, as well as Washington, D.C., including efforts by Congresswoman Betsy Markey on cell phone use while driving in school zones.