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.
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