Woman Pleads With Utah Drivers To Put Down Cell Phones

Apr 13, 2021, 5:15 PM | Updated: 8:45 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah Highway Patrol and 20 other agencies conducted a special distracted driving enforcement effort state-wide this weekend looking for those whose eyes were not on the road. UHP alone pulled over 2,449 drivers, 68 of them were distracted, 13 were driving under the influence, and 69 were engaging in reckless behavior.

At the virtual Zero Fatalities Safety Summit Tuesday, one Utah woman shared why it’s never worth texting and driving.

Leslee Henson Rasmussen and her husband David moved to St. George in 2012. “We’d only been there five months when our lives did change forever,” Rasmussen said.

In March of 2013, they were on a walk on Dixie Drive when a distracted driver hit them both, killing David instantly on impact.

“It was caused by a 50-year-old woman who was speeding. She was texting,” Rasmussen explained. She was also flown to Utah Valley Hospital after suffering neck and back fractures and severe head trauma which required 5,000 stitches and staples to her scalp.

“The worst injury, however, was my scalp. I did have three bleeds on my brain,” she described.

Since the crash and death of her husband, Rasmussen and her children have dedicated their lives to educating the public about the dangers of texting and driving.

“Learn to put your phone away, put it in the back seat, put it in your purse, put it in the glove compartment, put it away,” Rasmussen urged.

She was instrumental in helping SB253 pass during the 2014 legislative session making it against the law for drivers to manipulate the keyboard on their phone while they are behind the wheel.

Rasmussen is now advocating for lawmakers to pass a “Hands-Free” bill in Utah and urges her fellow Utahns to reach out to their local representatives to push for safer roads.

A survey conducted by the Utah Department of Public Safety and Utah Department of Transportation showed 24% of Utahns admitted to texting while driving on Utah roads in the last 30 days. Last year, 19 Utahns were killed and 1,800 others were injured as a result of distracted driving according to UHP.

“I hope we all remember that it really does only take one step to save a life,” Rasmussen warned.


KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Road to Zero

Karah Brackin

Troopers advise caution after rough start to the year on Utah’s roads

UHP says it's seeing an uptick in wrong-way driving after one person was killed in Salt Lake County Wednesday morning. KSL TV is also learning more about the man who died in an auto-pedestrian crash Tuesday.
19 hours ago
UDOT Davis Co. detours...
Katija Stjepovic and Cary J. Schwanitz

Northern Utah construction projects could slow weekend plans

The Utah Department of Transportation will close the southbound lanes of Legacy Parkway between Park Lane in Farmington and Parrish Lane in Centerville for the second straight weekend.
6 days ago
Tamara Vaifanua

SLC Police conduct crosswalk safety enforcement after several auto-pedestrian crashes

Salt Lake City police conducted a crosswalk safety enforcement Thursday morning. It comes as at least half a dozen people have been hit by cars — and a 31-year-old man lost his life this past week.
14 days ago
[File] Utah Highway Patrol State Trooper car (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)...
Madison Swenson

Utah troopers stop more than 3,500 vehicles for speeding in first 2 weeks of 2023

UHP said troopers stopped more than 10,000 vehicles in the state during the first two weeks of the new year, with 3,567 of those being for speeding violations.
14 days ago
A pedestrian crosses the street...
Katija Stjepovic

Salt Lake City community group demands measures to protect pedestrians

The community-based group Sweet Streets demanded Utah leaders take action to slow and prevent the number of injured and killed pedestrians.
16 days ago
(Utah Highway Patrol)...
Jed Boal

Number of 100 mph speeders cited in Utah nearly doubles in four years

Utah drivers admit to speeding over 100 mph more than any other drivers, according to a recent national survey — a statistic that is not surprising to UHP.
21 days ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Woman Pleads With Utah Drivers To Put Down Cell Phones