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distracted driving in utah law

Utah Proposed Law – Distracted Driving

This article discusses the laws concerning distracted driving in the state of Utah. Distracted driving is a serious matter and is the cause of many accidents and deaths in Utah every year. Please avoid distracted driving at all costs and understand the laws in Utah.Current LawThe current distracted driving law states that drivers cannot use their electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle to manually:

1. Write, send, or read written communication; such as

    • Texting
    • Email
    • 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 distracted driving 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 Law

For the proposed new distracted driving 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”.


Proposed new distracted driving 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:

    • Placing or receiving a voice communication;
    • Texting;
    • Email;
    • Dialing phone numbers;
    • Accessing the Internet;
    • View/record video or photo; or
    • 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.

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