Colorado is going to outlaw using a cell phone while driving. Here’s what that means

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Traffic on Highway 36 between Lyons and Pinewood on August 30, 2023.

Using a cell phone while driving will be illegal for adults in Colorado under a new bill that state lawmakers passed last week.

A spokesperson for Gov. Jared Polis said the legislation is a “big step forward” that will improve road safety and said he would sign the bill.

Here’s what the new law means for you:

Can I still make calls while I’m driving?

Yes. If you use a hands-free accessory.

Are there any exceptions?

Yes. Under the new law, drivers can use their cell phones while controlling a vehicle if they’re parked or they’re reporting an emergency. First responders and utility contractors responding to emergencies are also exempted.

When does the law go into effect?

Jan. 1, 2025

What’s the penalty?

Fines start at $75. First-time offenders can get the penalty waived if they buy a hands-free device.

Can police pull me over if they see me using a cell phone?

No. The distracted driving law is a secondary offense, which means drivers must first be pulled over for something else before they can be cited for using a cell phone.

Can police give me a citation for simply having a phone on me?

No. The law says that a police officer must actually see the driver using a cell phone. 

What about drivers under 18?

Making phone calls for drivers under 18 is already illegal under current state law.

Can I text and drive?

No. That is already illegal as well.