CRS 42-4-807 is the Colorado traffic law that requires drivers to exercise due care towards pedestrians, including honking the horn if necessary or being cautious around children and vulnerable people. Drivers who fail to exercise due care to pedestrians face a citation for a class A traffic infraction. This carries a civil fine of up to $100 as well as four DMV points.
The statute states:
Notwithstanding any of the provisions of this article, every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian upon any roadway and shall give warning by sounding the horn when necessary and shall exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any obviously confused or incapacitated person upon a roadway.
People who ignore their traffic tickets get a default judgment taken out against them. And the DMV will react by suspending their license until the fine is paid.
Below our Denver Colorado criminal defense lawyers discuss:
- 1. What is exercising due care to pedestrians?
- 2. What are the penalties under CRS 42-4-807?
- 3. Can I get the citation dismissed in Colorado?
- 4. Will not paying the ticket get me arrested?
- 5. Is violating CRS 42-4-807 probable cause of drunk driving?
- 6. Can I sue if there is an accident?
1. What is exercising due care to pedestrians?
Under CRS 42-4-807, drivers must remain aware of any pedestrians in the vicinity and be careful not to cause any collisions with them. Specifically, the statute authorizes drivers to sound their horns when necessary to alert pedestrians of their presence. And if a pedestrian is disabled or a child, drivers should take extra care to avoid hitting them.1
Example: Jerome is driving in Denver when he sees a young girl on skates. Even though she is on the sidewalk, Jerome slows down so he can break quickly in case she veers into the road. Here, Jerome is following CRS 42-4-807 by taking extra caution around an underage pedestrian.
Note that drivers who actually hit and injure pedestrians may face felony charges for vehicular assault (CRS 18-3-205). And if the pedestrian dies, the state could bring even more serious felony charges for vehicular homicide (CRS 18-3-106).
2. What are the penalties under CRS 42-4-807?
Drivers who do not exercise due care towards pedestrians can be cited for a class A traffic infraction. This carries fines from $15 to $100 as well as a small surcharge. In addition, this traffic offense carries four (4) DMV points. (Adults age 21 or older who rack up 12 points in 12 months face a driver’s license suspension.)2
Since infractions are civil, class A infractions carry no jail time. However they are moving violations, so insurance companies can increase the driver’s premium.
3. Can I get the citation dismissed in Colorado?
Possibly. Two potential defenses to fight CRS 42-4-807 charges are:
- The defendant was careful, and the police officer made a mistake. Perhaps the police mistook the defendant for another driver. Or perhaps the officer simply misconstrued the situation.
- The pedestrian was not careful, and the defendant acted reasonably. Maybe the pedestrian was creating a hazard by jaywalking or taunting the defendant, and the defendant actually avoided an accident by stopping or driving around the pedestrian.
Helpful evidence in cases such as these includes eyewitness testimony, traffic surveillance video, the pedestrian’s phone GPS records, and the defendant’s car GPS records.
4. Will not paying the ticket get me arrested?
No, the judge will not issue a bench warrant for not paying a ticket since it is not a criminal matter. However, the judge will issue a default judgment against the defendant, and any unpaid fines go to collections.
But the biggest consequence is that the DMV will suspend the person’s license until the fine gets paid. The DMV usually allows defendants 30 days to pay before suspending the license.3
Read more in our article on driving with a suspended license / driving under restraint (CRS 42-2-138).
5. Is violating CRS 42-4-807 probable cause of drunk driving?
Not in and of itself. But if the police pull over the driver and detect that he/she is intoxicated, then the police will start a DUI / DWAI, investigation. This includes conducting a preliminary breath test and field sobriety tests. And if the defendant performs poorly, the officer may claim there is sufficient probable cause to make a DUI arrest.
6. Can I sue if there is an accident?
Yes, depending on the circumstances. Many car accidents involve a driver colliding into a pedestrian. In these cases, the pedestrian (“plaintiff”) could sue the driver (“defendant”) for negligence per se. This “cause of action” has four elements that the plaintiff would have to prove by a preponderance of the evidence:
- The defendant violated a traffic law (by failing to exercise due care towards pedestrians);
- This traffic law’s purpose is to protect people like the plaintiff (pedestrians);
- The plaintiff’s injuries were caused by the defendant’s violation; and
- The injuries resulted in money damages.
The plaintiff’s Colorado personal injury lawyer would fight to recover as much compensatory damages as possible to reimburse the plaintiff for doctor’s bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Most of the time, parties settle out of court without a trial.
In Nevada? See our article on failure to exercise due care to pedestrians (NRS 484B.280).
- Colorado Revised Statutes 42-4-807 CRS – Drivers to exercise due care.
- CRS 42-2-127(5)(cc).
- CRS 42-4-1709.