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

Traffic backed up to one line in the Farmington fatal crash. (Credit: UDOT)...
Karah Brackin, KSL TV

After another deadly crash, UDOT says we’re ‘a long way from the road to zero fatalities’

UDOT says as of last Monday, 28 people were killed as pedestrians on Utah roads in addition to six bicyclists.
7 days ago
File - Generic Highway...
Mike Anderson, KSL TV

UHP urges cautious driving as deadly trend continues

2022 is well on track to beat out 2021, which was already the deadliest year that Utah’s had on its roads in over two decades.
8 days ago
A grassroots safety advocacy organization called Sweet Streets started the "20 is Plenty" movement ...
Jed Boal, KSL TV

Advocates say SL streets need redesign, not just lower speeds

SALT LAKE CITY — In response to an unprecedented surge in auto-pedestrian fatalities, Salt Lake City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to lower the speed limit from 25 to 20 mph in residential neighborhoods. Safety advocates who pushed for that change called it is a good first step. A grassroots safety advocacy organization called Sweet Streets […]
12 days ago
Salt Lake City seen from Chopper 5, KSL TV)...
Karah Brackin, KSL TV

Salt Lake City Council lowers speed limit on most streets to 20 mph

The Salt Lake City Council voted Tuesday to lower the speed limit on most streets to 20 mph. The vote followed a recent spike in auto-pedestrian crashes.
12 days ago
(Matt Rascon/KSL TV)...
Matt Rascon, KSL TV

Father helps bring changes to Timpview Drive to protect kids

A father’s yearslong effort to change Timpview Drive and improve his kids route to school could finally be paying off after Provo City agreed to collect feedback on temporary changes.
14 days ago
Erin Mendenhall, mayor of Salt Lake City, announces to new measures to help reduce the number of fa...
Jed Boal, KSL TV

After several fatal crashes, SLC mayor sets plan for safer streets

After multiple fatal crashes this week, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall set out a plan to make streets safer for people on foot and bikes.
18 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Earth day 2022...

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Make Money Online Easily...

4 Ways that You Can Make Money Online Easily in Just a Few Clicks

Here are 4 ways that you can make money online easily in no time at all! Some are as simple as just a few clicks away.
tips to winterize your home...
Bonneville Digital SLC

Tips to Winterize Your Home | The Top 5 Ways You Can Prepare for the Cold Utah Winter Ahead

Before the snow hits, here are the top 5 tips to winterize your home to prepare for the cold Utah winter this year.
Woman Pleads With Utah Drivers To Put Down Cell Phones