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Careless Driving Gets Stiffer Penalties in Colorado

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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.

Image by ER24 EMS (Pty) Ltd on Flickr, used under its Creative Commons license


3 Responses to “Careless Driving Gets Stiffer Penalties in Colorado”

  • […] then we may not being seeing Ms. Wulliman behind the wheel much longer. As I recently wrote, Colorado just passed Senate Bill 204, increasing the penalties for careless driving that results in a fatal car accident.  Reckless driving is now a full 12 point violation, which […]

  • Heather Seter says:

    I’m glad that Colorado is trying to change this rule. It is a shame and tragedy for so many people to die because of someone else’s or even their driving carelessly. My younger sister may have still been here if this change was made 4 years ago. Always remember driving is a privilege and should be taken seriously because people can die because of your carelessness!!!

  • Andrew says:

    Yeah, I’m dredging up an old post. I just happened to notice you seem to be conflating careless driving, careless driving resulting in a death, and reckless driving. SB 204 merely raised the penalty for careless driving resulting in a death, plain old careless driving was left untouched with a 4 point penalty.


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