CRS 42-4-1006 is the Colorado statute that makes it a traffic offense for a motorist to drive a motor vehicle the wrong way when on a one-way road. A violation of this law is a class A traffic infraction.
The statute says, “upon a roadway restricted to one-way traffic, a vehicle shall be driven only in the direction designated at all or such times as shall be indicated by official traffic control devices.”
Examples of unlawful acts
- going against the flow of traffic on a one-way road.
- driving a truck in the direction opposite of the direction designated on a one-way street.
- operating a car on a one-way thoroughfare in any direction different from the direction marked.
Drivers can use a legal defense to challenge a charge under this statute. Common defenses include:
- the road was not well marked,
- the defendant was not on a one-way street, and/or
- there was an emergency.
The offense is punishable by a $70 fine. In addition, the Colorado DMV may add points to the motorist’s driver’s license.
Our Colorado personal injury lawyers will highlight the following in this article:
- 1. What is an offense under CRS 42-4-1006?
- 2. Are there defenses to a charge?
- 3. What are the penalties for violating the law?
- 4. Can driving the wrong way result in other charges?
- 5. Can a violation affect a personal injury lawsuit?
- 6. Are there laws related to this statute?
1. What is a crime under CRS 42-4-1006?
CRS 42-4-1006 applies when motorists are driving on a one-way road.
The law states that in such an event the motorist must drive the vehicle in the direction designated by any traffic control devices.1
The statute also states that a driver passing around a rotary traffic island, or a roundabout, must do so to the right of the island.2
2. Are there defenses to a charge?
Traffic attorneys rely on several legal strategies to challenge traffic violations for when a person drives in the wrong direction. A few include showing that:
- the roadway was not well marked.
- the accused was not on a one-way street.
- there was an emergency.
2.1 Road not well marked
A person charged under this statute can always show that there were no clear markings as to what direction traffic should drive in. If this was the case, then a driver would not have known where he/she was supposed to drive.
2.2 No one-way street
Recall that this law only applies to when drivers are on one-way roadways. Therefore, it is always a defense for a motorist to say that he/she was not on a one-way street.
A valid defense to these types of charges is for an accused to show that an emergency prevented compliance with the law. Perhaps, for example, a person had to drive the wrong way to get to a hospital.
3. What are the penalties for violating the law?
A violation of CRS 42-4-1006 is a class A traffic infraction.
The penalties include a $70 fine (along with applicable surcharges).3 In addition, the Colorado DMV may add points to the motorist’s driver’s license.
Note that a person’s driver’s license will get suspended if he/she receives a certain number of points within a 12- or 24-month time period.4
4. Can driving the wrong way result in other charges?
Driving the wrong way on a one-way road can lead to other charges.
Police officers can charge and arrest someone whenever they have probable cause to believe that he/she committed an offense.
This means that, if peace officers stop a person for going the wrong way, they can then charge that person for any other offense for which they have probable cause to believe the person committed (e.g., DUI).
5. Can a violation affect a personal injury lawsuit?
A violation of this traffic regulation can affect a personal injury lawsuit.
A violation means that a driver is negligent per se for any injuries that he caused while breaking the law.
6. Are there laws related to this statute?
There are three laws related to this statute. These are:
- driving on the wrong side of the road – CRS 42-4-1010,
- failure to yield to emergency vehicles – CRS 42-4-705, and
- driving on the left side of the road – CRS 42-4-1001.
6.1 Driving on the wrong side of the road – CRS 42-4-1010
CRS 42-4-1010 is the Colorado traffic law that requires motorists to drive on the right side of divided or controlled-access highways.
6.2 Failure to yield to emergency vehicles – CRS 42-4-705
CRS 42-4-705 is the Colorado statute that says drivers must yield the right-of-way to emergency vehicles.
6.3 Driving on the left side of the road – CRS 42-4-1001
CRS 42-4-1001 is the Colorado statute that makes it a traffic offense for a motorist to drive on the left side of the road. A few exceptions to this general rule do apply (e.g., when a motorist is overtaking and passing another car).
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 42-4-1006(1).
- CRS 42-4-1006(2).
- CRS 42-4-1701.
- See Colorado Department of Revenue website, “Point Suspensions.”