Safety Laws in Colorado

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The Colorado Department of Transportation has several laws that are meant to promote your safety in the road. These regulations cover everything from helmet use, drunken driving, seat belts, child car seats and cell phone use.

Child Car Seat Laws

A child passenger must be in child car seat or a booster seat until they reach 8 years old. These are some basics of the child car seat laws:

  • Any child under 1 year old and weighing less than 20 pounds must ride in a rear-facing seat at the back seat of your vehicle.
  • Any child between 1 year old and 3 years old and weighing at least 20 pounds must ride in a forward-facing seat at the back seat.
  • Children aged between 4 years old and 7 years old must ride in a booster seat.
  • Any passenger older than 8 years old must ride in a standard vehicle safety belt.

For more information about child car seat, contact the Child Passenger Safety organization (CPS).

Child Safety Seat Installation

There are several inspection stations in Colorado that can help you install a child safety seat. Most of these stations offer free services. There is also the NHTSA Child Car Seat Inspection Station Locator that can help you locate a reliable car seat technician.

Cell Phone and Texting Laws

If you are holding a learner’s permit or younger than 18 years old, it is illegal to use cell phones while driving. You will only be exempted from this requirement if you are reporting an emergency, reporting a reckless driver or you have reason to fear for your life or safety. All drivers in Colorado, regardless of age and license status, are banned from texting while driving on public roads.

Colorado Cell Phone Ticket Fees

If you are caught violating the cell phone law, you will be subjected to fines and penalties. For your first offense, you will get a fine of up to $50. For subsequent offenses, you will get a fine of up to $100.

Seat Belt Laws

All front seat passengers and drivers are required to wear seat belts while the vehicle is in motion. In Colorado, you will not be pulled over for not wearing a seat belt. However, if you are pulled over because of over-speeding and you are found not wearing a seat belt; you will receive a fine of $65 (adults) or $82 (children). There are several exceptions which include:

  • Driving a vehicle manufactured before 1st July 1968.
  • If you have a physical or medical condition that is preventing from wearing a seat belt (You must have a statement from a medical practitioner to prove your case).

Colorado Helmet Laws

  • Motorcycles: All riders younger than 18 years old are required to wear helmets while riding. While helmets are not required for adult riders, they are recommended because they can protect you from getting head injuries.
  • Bicycle: Colorado has no mandatory bicycle helmet laws.

Motorcycle Protective Eye Gear

The law requires motorcycle passengers and riders to wear protective eye gears while riding.

Motorcycle Overtaking

Overtaking a vehicle in the same lane is not allowed by the state. Riders may not share lanes with vehicles. They are only allowed to ride abreast with another motorcyclist.


As a rider, it is illegal to attach your motorcycle or yourself to a vehicle on the road.

Passenger Laws

Passengers are required by law to ride sidecar or behind the motorcycle rider. Passengers would never sit in front of the rider. Motorcycles must be fitted with footrests for passengers.


Your bicycle must be fitted with a front side white headlight which must be turned on at night. Turning on your motorcycle headlights during the day is not required in Colorado.

Motorcycle Safety Courses

There are several benefits of successfully completing a Colorado Motorcycle Safety Foundation training course. This course offers information that you need to know about motorcycles. It also exempts you from taking the driving and written exams when applying for a motorcycle license with the DMV.

Colorado Headlight Laws

  • Vehicles: Headlights must be turned on after sunset to sunrise and when the weather reduces visibility to 1,000 feet.
  • Motorcycles: Turning on headlights during the day is not required. However, Headlights must be turned on after sunset to sunrise.
  • Snowmobiles: Headlights must be turned on after sunset and before sunset.
  • Bicycles: Your bicycle must be fitted with a front side white headlight which must be turned on before sunrise and after sunset.

Colorado Boating Laws

You are required to take necessary safety measures when riding a boat, kayak, canoe or raft. Read the information below to understand the information you need to stay safe while riding a boat on water.

Minimum Safety Requirements for Recreational Boats

A personal flotation device commonly known as PFD is an important requirement for every rider and passenger on the boat. You must carry 1 PFD for each passenger on the boat. If your boat is longer than 16 feet, you must carry an additional throwable device. Children younger than 12 years old are required by law to wear a personal flotation device whenever they are in a moving boat on water.

Boat Safety Inspections

Be sure your boat complies with equipment regulations, which include water-skiing flags and appropriate navigational lighting. All the items in the list below are inspected before you are allowed to boat your vessel.

For Motorized Vessels and Sailboats

  • Approved personal flotation device for each person on board.
  • Whistle, air horn or horn.
  • Fire extinguisher.
  • Type IV throwable PFD on board if a vessel is longer than 16 feet.
  • Valid registration.

For Personal Watercrafts (PWC)

  • Approved personal flotation device.
  • Properly attached cut-off lanyard.
  • Whistle, air horn or horn.
  • Fire extinguisher.
  • Valid registration.

For Kayaks, Canoes or Rafts

  • Approved personal flotation device.
  • The vessel must be marked with the name of the owner and their address.
  • Whistle, air horn or horn.
  • Rafts must be double chambered.

Unattended Children or Pets in a vehicle

In Colorado, it is illegal to leave a child or pet unattended in a vehicle at any given moment. The following are risks associated with leaving a child or a pet unattended in a car:

  • Injury and death if the weather is very hot or cold.
  • Petnapping or Kidnapping.
  • Vehicle tampering by the kid or pet.

If you suspect an unattended child or pet in a car whose life is in danger, dial 911 immediately.