CRS 42-4-806 is the Colorado statute that makes it is a traffic offense for any motorist to drive through a safety zone. A “safety zone” is a clearly marked area set aside for the use of pedestrians. A violation of the law is a class A traffic infraction.
The statute reads that “No vehicle at any time shall be driven through or within a safety zone. Any person who violates any provision of this section commits a class A traffic infraction.”
Examples of unlawful acts
- driving near a Denver bus stop and steering through a safety zone where passengers are.
- swerving into a safety zone for laughs.
- guiding a motor vehicle into an area reserved for pedestrians.
Persons charged with a safety zone violation can challenge the ticket with a legal defense. Common defenses include an accused showing that:
- the safety zone was not clearly marked,
- there was an emergency, and/or
- the police officer made a mistake and falsely accused the driver.
Traffic violations under this statute are charged as class A infractions. This is opposed to:
The offense is punishable by the following penalties:
- a fine, and
- points on the offender’s driver’s license.
Our Colorado criminal defense lawyers will explain the following in this article:
- When does a person violate CRS 42-4-806?
- Can a person raise a legal defense?
- What are the penalties?
- Can driving through a safety zone result in other charges?
- How does a violation affect a personal injury lawsuit?
- Are there laws related to this statute?
1. When does a person violate CRS 42-4-806?
According to Colorado Revised Statutes 42-4-806, it is unlawful for any motorist to drive through a safety zone.1
A “safety zone” is essentially a clearly marked area set aside for the use of pedestrians. Common examples include striped areas where passengers load and unload buses.
2. Can a person raise a legal defense?
Traffic attorneys look upon several legal strategies to contest traffic regulation violations. Some applicable to safety zone violations include:
- the safety zone was poorly marked,
- there was an emergency, and
- law enforcement made a mistake.
2.1 Safety zone not well marked
Drivers can always assert that a particular safety zone was not well marked. If true, the motorist can argue that he/she did not know the car was in the zone.
It is always a defense for a motorist to say that he had to enter a safety zone because of, or to avoid, an emergency. Perhaps, for example, the drive entered a zone to avoid crashing into another car or an emergency vehicle.
2.3 Peace officer made a mistake
An alleged offender can show that the police officer that issued the ticket made a mistake and falsely accused the person. Perhaps, for example, the officer did not clearly see the car involved or the safety zone.
3. What are the penalties?
Safety zone violations in the State of Colorado are charged as class A traffic infractions. Penalties include:
- a fine (plus applicable penalty assessments), and
- points on the motorist’s driver’s license.
Note that a person’s driver’s license will get suspended if he/she receives a certain amount of points in a 12- or 24-month time period. This holds true for both:
- adult drivers, and
- minor drivers (i.e., those under 21 years of age)2
4. Can driving through a safety zone result in other charges?
A violation of these laws can result in charges of other offenses.
Police must have probable cause to arrest or charge a person with an offense. This means if an officer stops a driver for a safety zone violation, and he then gains probable cause that the person broke another law, then he can charge or arrest him/her for that offense.
For example, if a police officer stops a person for a traffic violation, and then gains probable cause that the person is intoxicated, the officer can arrest and charge the driver with DUI.
5. How does a violation affect a personal injury lawsuit?
Driving through a safety zone can lead to a court finding the driver negligent in a personal injury suit.
In a personal injury claim, a negligent party:
- is the person responsible for causing an injury/accident, and
- must compensate the injured party for any damages incurred.
Note that Colorado law says that a person is negligent per se for violating a state statute or regulation.
6. Are there laws related to this statute?
There are three laws related to this statute. These are:
- failure to yield to pedestrians – 42-4-802,
- improper passing – 42-4-1005, and
- speeding violations – 42-4-1101.
6.1 Failure to yield to pedestrians – 42-4-802
CRS 42-4-802 is the Colorado law that says a driver must:
- yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian, and
- do so when the pedestrian is crossing a roadway within a crosswalk.
6.2 Improper passing – 42-4-1005
CRS 42-4-1005 is the Colorado statute that says a driver cannot pass a car moving in the same direction by traveling to the left of the center of the road. Note that there are exceptions to the statute’s passing violations.
6.3 Speeding violations – 42-4-1101
CRS 42-4-1101 is the Colorado law that prohibits speeding. It essentially requires motorists to follow lawful speed limits and drive at prudent speeds.
For additional help…
For additional guidance or to discuss your case with a Colorado traffic attorney, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group.
- CRS 42-4-806
- See Colorado Department of Revenue website, “Point Suspensions.”.