HUMOR – While doing my radio show this week a listener heard me bragging about my driving record, which is unblemished, and that inspired her to ask me about Utah driving laws. I have not had a ticket in decades and I have never been in a wreck, although my wife claims I have probably caused a few, so I feel highly qualified to give advice about driving in Utah.
Everyone needs to be reminded that driving is a privilege in Utah and can be revoked for a plethora of reasons. If you don’t believe me just try ignoring the speed limit signs for a month or so or running random stop signs. Remember, safe driving saves lives.
In the great state of Utah you get awarded points for driving above and beyond the call of duty. For example: You get points for speeding or failure to stop at a stop light or stop sign. I believe you can also get points for failure to signal before making a turn or driving with your signal on, but that would be hard to prove in a court of law.
If a driver amasses 200 or more points in a two-year period he or she might lose their license … depending upon their connections. A driver younger than 21 only needs 70 points in a two-year period to lose their license. It sounds a bit like age discrimination to me, but then again I’ve seen the under-21 set drive so I’m not complaining.
Because some very important people tend to rack up more points than they could possibly ever want in a two-year period, the powers that be have provided a way for drivers to have points expunged from their record. All a person has to do is take a “Defensive” Driving Course and those pesky points will disappear – this is helpful for visitors to Zion National Park after a partial government shutdown.
I’m not sure why they don’t call the course a “Safe Driving” course as I am pretty sure the state doesn’t offer an “Offensive” driving program …. not that you can tell by watching people drive.
Sadly, the points from taking a defensive driving course can only be used to remove existing points from your driving record. Denizens of Utah cannot store up points in advance in a sort of “get out of jail free” scheme. Otherwise, you could take the defensive driving course to save up some points and then drive with impunity until your points got back up into the 140 point range.
Another way to lose your license is to get caught driving while intoxicated. In some states it is called driving under the influence. No matter what you call it, if you get caught DWI-ing or DUI-ing then losing your driving privileges might be the least of your worries.
Here in Utah there are other more obscure ways to lose your driving privileges. It’s actually possible to lose your driver’s license for bouncing a check, failing to pay child support, or for getting caught siphoning gas out of your neighbor’s car without permission.
I understand the importance of people paying child support but am I the only one who thinks that this is akin to the debtor’s prison that everyone was so fond of in the dark ages?
The good news is that we are not the only state with some very strict laws about who can and who can’t drive. In Arizona and Oregon you can lose your license for littering from your car …. I am also pretty sure that reckless driving in these states carries the death penalty.
In Washington leaving a child in a running car while it is unattended can cost someone their driver’s license. Presumably, it’s OK in the other 49 states … but don’t come crying to me if you get ticketed for it here because you won’t get any sympathy from me.
I just had a stroke of inspiration. Back in the mid 1970s the federal government instigated a mandatory 55-miles-per-hour national speed limit. I am told the lower speed limit saved lives and fuel.
This leads me to my brilliant idea of the week. Let’s make the national speed limit five miles per hour. Think of the lives and fuel this law could save. Just don’t let anyone in Washington D.C. catch wind of this idea or we could all end up with cars with a legislated top speed of only five miles per hour.
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John Carter is temporarily stepping in for his daughter, Elise Haynes, as she deals with the wonders and glories of moving. Carter is a well known radio personality who co-hosts the morning show with Marty Lane on 97.7 Big Classic Country (our sympathies to Marty Lane). He is also known to throw on a good ole country-western dance party and is far too easily amused by lousy George Takai impersonations.
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