ACTION ALERT: Two State Senate bills need your support for safer streets!

by Jessica Vargas on March 14, 2019

Our fellow Denver Streets Partnership member Bicycle Colorado has issued two action alerts related to traffic safety in Colorado. Now is the time to reach out to your senator and ask them to support two bills addressing issues critical to improving the safety of our roads for all users. Two of the Senators hail from Denver, and they are Julie Gonzales (D34) and Robert Rodriguez (D32). Constituents of Senators Gonzales and Rodriguez can reach out to them either individually or through the Bicycle Colorado Action Center!

Senate Bill 19-175 will protect vulnerable road users by increasing penalties for careless driving causing serious bodily injury

Senate Bill 19-175 will protect vulnerable road users – including bicyclists, pedestrians, maintenance workers, those providing emergency services and more – by making careless driving causing serious bodily injury a class 1 traffic misdemeanor. It will be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 18.

If signed into law, SB 19-175 will mark an important step forward in making Colorado roads safer for everyone who uses them. It will further discourage careless driving on our roadways by allowing the court to require the violator to attend a driver improvement course and perform useful public service. The bill also subjects a violator to a restitution order and a license suspension of one year, though violators can apply for a restricted license to drive a motor vehicle to and from his or her place of employment or to perform duties within the course of his or her employment.

This bill will protect people who ride and walk in Colorado. Increased penalties for careless driving help deter unsafe behavior behind the wheel and make our roads safer for everyone. 

Senate Bill 19-012 is aimed at decreasing distracted driving throughout Colorado

Data from the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) indicates that 620 people died on Colorado roads in 2018 alone, and that’s in addition to 620 people more in 2017. Moreover, between 2012 and 2016, approximately 57,300 distracted-driving crashes occurred with an average of 40 distracted-distracted driving crashes occurring daily in 2016. Forty per day.

Current law prohibits the use of cellular phones while driving only for individuals who are under 18. Senate bill 19-012 would:

  • Extend the prohibition to drivers of all ages;
  • Extend the existing prohibition of the use of wireless telephones to include all mobile electronic devices; and
  • Establish the penalties as $50 and 2 points for a first violation, $150 and 4 points for a second violation, and $300 and 4 points for a third or subsequent violation
  • Create an exception to the prohibition of the use of mobile electronic devices for drivers who use a mobile electronic device while a hands-free accessory is engaged; and
  • Repeal a sentence enhancement for a violation that causes bodily injury or death.

SB 19-012 is critical to improving the safety of all road users, especially vulnerable users such as bicyclists and pedestrians. The bill will go before the full senate in the days to come. The message for senators is one of public safety benefits. Please reach out and let them know that this bill is critical to addressing our state’s rising crash and fatality rates but more so, ensuring the safety of Coloradans and visitors who travel on our state’s roads.

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