On December 1, Colorado's ban against texting while driving went into effect, and in an interview with Westword, Representative Claire Levy, who co-sponsored the original bill, defended the measure despite complaints by Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle about the difficulty of enforcing it.
"When confronted with the difficulty of enforcement, should we say, 'Never mind -- go ahead and text, because we can't stop you'?" Levy asked. "Or should we say, 'This is really dangerous. It's causing accidents and loss of life. So let's pass a law and hope that the combination of enforcement and people's good judgment will be effective'?"
Good questions -- but in the meantime, it appears that local cops aren't setting any records when it comes to passing out texting tickets. Note that it took Aurora more than a month to give out its first, to Jordyn Lucas, 19.
Moreover, according to the Aurora Sentinel, this citation wasn't written because an officer saw Lucas texting. No, Lucas crashed her car into a curb on January 3 and left it there. Two days later, cops were able to track her down, at which point she told them the accident had happened while she was texting. Had she not mentioned this fact, presumably, she wouldn't have been ticketed for it.
No doubt other Aurorans have made questionable traffic maneuvers while texting since December 1, too -- and they haven't been caught in the act. But Levy maintained last month that the ban has a reason to exist even if it doesn't produce a flurry of tickets.
"In some cases, it will be difficult [for officers] to determine whether someone was texting or dialing or not doing anything at all," she acknowledged. "But really, that's not much different than trying to figure out whether somebody's driving with a blood-alcohol level of .08 percent without stopping them unless they're doing something obviously wrong.
"There are a lot of traffic laws we have that are somewhat difficult to enforce or are only enforced if a law-enforcement officer just happens to see a person at exactly the right time. But the point is, we know text-messaging while driving is extremely dangerous, and it shouldn't be allowed."
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.