Utah Proposes New Cell Phone Law

Utah Proposes New Cell Phone Law

Utah currently has a law in place to limit the use of cell phones while driving. A new law has now been proposed that would make the standards quite a bit more strict. The current law and the newly proposed law are compared below.

utah cell phone law

Current Utah Cell Phone Law

 

The current law states that drivers cannot use their electronic devices while operating a moving motor vehicle to manually:

 

  1. Write, send, or read written communication; such as
    1. Texting
    2. Email
    3. Instant messaging
  2. Dial a phone number;
  3. Access the Internet;
  4. View or record video; or
  5. Enter any data into an electronic device.

 

The current law states that operators of moving motor vehicles are not prohibited in using an electronic device:

 

  1. To communicate for voice communication;
  2. To navigate;
  3. In a medical emergency;
  4. To report a safety hazard;
  5. To report criminal activity;
  6. Such as law enforcement using electronic devices for their employment similarly to a citizen reporting a criminal activity; and
  7. Using the electronic device “hands-free”, or if the device is electronically integrated into the motor vehicle.

 

Proposed New Utah Cell Phone Law

 

For the proposed new law that would replace the current law, the State of Utah would allow the operator of a moving motor vehicle to use an electronic device if it is “hands-free”. “Hands-free” is defined as “technology that allows the use of a handheld wireless communication device without manual manipulation, including a system physically”; electronically integrated devices in motor vehicles are considered “hands-free”.

 

Unlawful

 

Proposed new law: what would be considered unlawful for the State of Utah regarding electronic device usage while operating a motor vehicle would be:

 

  1. Any electronic device usage outside of the definition of a “hands-free” device or an integrated electronic device, including but not limited to:

 

    1. Placing or receiving a voice communication;
    2. Texting;
    3. Email;
    4. Dialing phone numbers;
    5. Accessing the Internet;
    6. View/record video or photo; or
    7. Enter any data into an electronic device.

 

In other words, any electronic device usage while operating a vehicle that it not “hands-free” could land you a ticket. When someone uses their electronic device while operating a motor vehicle, they are putting themselves, their passengers, and other drivers at risk.

This new law would ban the current exceptions we have in place to the rule that Utahn’s cannot manually enter data into their phone while operating a moving motor vehicle. The biggest difference this new law would make is that, currently, you are able to make a call while at a stop, then hold the phone to your head and begin driving during the conversation. Under this new law, that would no longer be ok. So basically, if you can’t do it using your bluetooth and your voice, then you can’t do it while moving. Many states already have similar laws in place. Any law that makes Utah roads a safe place to be is probably a good idea in our eyes.

For more on this proposal, check out the article here: https://www.sltrib.com/news/politics/2017/12/27/will-utah-legislators-answer-new-call-to-ban-phone-use-while-driving/