Utah lawmaker wants to ban hand-held phone use while driving

Stock photo | St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah lawmaker is working on legislation that would make it illegal to hold a cellphone while driving.

Democratic Rep. Carol Spackman-Moss of Salt Lake City says she wants to reduce crashes caused by distracted driving by requiring people to use a hands-free device behind the wheel.

Utah drivers can text when their car is stopped but are banned from texting while in the car is in motion. Drivers can also be cited for using a hand-held phone while driving if they’re pulled over for a traffic violation other than speeding.

KUTV-TV reports 14 other states ban drivers from using hand-held devices.

Republican state Sen. Jake Anderegg of Lehi told The Salt Lake Tribune that he thinks the bill will be tough to pass because many people rely on phones for business use while driving.

Cellphone use, along with other activity that diverts attention from driving, such as eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with your entertainment or navigation system, are examples of distracted driving.

The Utah Department of Public Safety calls distracted driving a “growing problem.

There were 5,850 distracted driver crashes resulting in 3,202 injured persons and 28 deaths in the state in 2015, the most recent statistics available on the DPS website. About 10 percent of all crashes in Utah involved a distracted driver and more than half of those were rear-end crashes.

Nationally, 3477 people were killed in 2015 because of distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

St. George News contributed to this story.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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  • utahdiablo December 28, 2017 at 9:11 pm

    “Republican state Sen. Jake Anderegg of Lehi told The Salt Lake Tribune that he thinks the bill will be tough to pass because many people rely on phones for business use while driving”….Well Jakie baby, you or your ever hit me or mine, the first thing I do is subponea your cell phone records to find that you were distracted when you hit me or mine….then I sue you for your Business, Home, Wealth, whatever….you need to make a call or text? pull the hell over …

    • desertgirl December 29, 2017 at 8:40 am

      Wow. The senator didn’t say he was against it; he said it would tough to pass. That is because all the snowflakes and other bozos can’t stand the idea of being awake and not being on their technology. Talk to the people you know who use that cell phone while driving. Most won’t admit they do it and certainly don’t want to get caught, yet, don’t really give a damn about the risk. Why? Cuz they are different and special.

      • DRT December 29, 2017 at 9:42 am

        “don’t really give a damn about the risk. Why? Cuz they are different and special.”
        I believe that this should be engraved on their tombstone!
        We sure do seem to have a lot of “different and special” folks in this state.

  • 42214 December 28, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    Hope it passes. A lot of soccer moms with vans full of kids won’t know what to do with themselves if they actually have to pay attention to their driving.

    • Real Life December 29, 2017 at 6:34 am

      Amen. Vans and van loads of ’em.

  • darkgoddess December 29, 2017 at 5:21 am

    @utahdiablo, I agree. Not only will I have cell phone records subpoenaed, but If I’m not gravely injured I will probably stomp that cell phone into pieces, although I’d prefer to shove it where the sun don’t shine. Folks, there’s no need for texting/calling while driving. How do you think people communicated and did business before cell phones??

  • paul December 29, 2017 at 5:59 am

    So this would include Everyone right ,not going to be double standards right Mr Utah lawmaker

  • R. December 29, 2017 at 8:59 am

    What? They passed a law several years stating hand free only, I believe it was 2013 or 2014 however, it doesn’t appear that they ever enforced it. Way to waste taxpayers money by “passing” a law that already exists. These laws are only effective if they’re enforced. They banned texting and driving, drive I-15 in Salt Lake County and I guarantee you’ll see a half dozen people texting.

    • DB December 29, 2017 at 2:19 pm

      As I recall, the law UT came up with was more convoluted than that. I think you could receive calls but not make them, or was it the other way around? How ’bout we go with the hands-free only option just like all the surrounding states seem to have. I can drive ten minutes from the house and be in another state. I simply turn the thing off, anyway.

  • old school December 29, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    Good luck! I think our “law makers” waited too long on this one, the technology is too ingrained into our society and growing out of control. Just going to be another unenforceable case of mass civil disobedience like the speed limits

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