ST. GEORGE — Two people ended up in the emergency room Thursday following a three-vehicle crash in St. George which officials say was caused by a teenage driver who was distracted by her phone.
Police and emergency crews responded to the three-vehicle collision at 1450 S. River Road in St. George just after 11:30 a.m.
Three vehicles had been traveling south on River Road, approaching a red light at 1450 South, St. George Police Officer Dave McDaniel said.
A white Ford truck was stopped in front of a red Chevrolet truck as the 17-year-old driver of a white Nissan Sentra approached the two vehicles from behind.
There had been very heavy traffic just before the crash occurred, McDaniel said, but that didn’t deter the driver of the white Nissan from being on her phone.
“Unfortunately,” McDaniel said, “the driver was on her phone and not paying attention, she hit the brakes a little bit too late and ran into the back of the Chevy and pushed it into the Ford.”
As a result of the crash, two people, who chose not to be transported by ambulance, were self-transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George, McDaniel said.
Traffic on River Road was slowed by the crash and, at one point, traffic was backed up to 900 East.
The white Nissan and red Chevrolet were rendered inoperable during the crash and were towed from the scene.
The driver of the Nissan was issued citations for following too close, careless driving and for using a phone while driving a vehicle under the age of 18.
In Utah, drivers under age 18 are banned from using any kind of wireless communication device while driving, including all handheld and hands-free cellphones and text messaging devices as part of a law enacted in 2013.
According to the Utah Highway Safety Office, drivers distracted by cellphones were 53 percent more likely to be age 15-19 compared to all drivers involved in crashes in 2012.
“Studies have shown that talking on a cellphone while driving, even if it’s hands-free, impairs driving ability, especially for younger drivers,” according to Utah.health.gov. “Drivers who used cell phones have 18 percent slower reaction times while driving and a two-fold increase in the number of rear-end crashes.”
This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.
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