LOCAL NEWS

New Bill Would Make It Illegal To Hold Phone While Driving In Utah

Dec 27, 2019, 8:14 AM

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – It’s already illegal to text and drive in Utah, but it’s not illegal to talk and drive.

For years, one lawmaker has been warning about the dangers of talking while driving. This coming year, she wants to do something about it.

Rep. Carol Spackman Moss (D-Holladay) is pushing a bill that would ban holding a cell phone at all while driving. She says distracted driving is one of the biggest causes of crashes in Utah.

Last year, authorities said there were 17 documented deaths involving distracted driving in the Beehive State. They believe that statistic should actually be much higher, considering the number of drivers who operate their phones while behind the wheel.

It’s the primary reason Spackman Moss believes there needs to be a new law.

“I care a lot about this because it would save lives,” she said.

Moss said her bill would ban drivers from using handheld phones for any reason. Twenty-one states already have this primary-enforcement law in place, meaning authorities can pull over offenders even if they haven’t broken any other traffic rules.

“It’s something that’s long overdue,” Spackman Moss said. “I’m hoping I’ll have the support this year because this is something the public wants.”

This bill has been introduced in the state legislature for several years in a row but has failed to pass. This year, Spackman Moss said she believes it has a better chance because the fine would be lower and a first offense would warrant an infraction rather than a misdemeanor.

She also said she’s optimistic about the bill this year because she has a Republican co-sponsor.

“I’m the eternal optimist,” she said.

While the bill still wouldn’t stop other distractions from happening, Spackman Moss said it’s a step closer to fewer fatalities and more attention on the roads — instead of phones.

“Please contact your legislator and ask him or her to vote for this bill,” she said. “It will save lives.”

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New Bill Would Make It Illegal To Hold Phone While Driving In Utah