CRIME

Utah drivers to see enhanced penalties in July 1 road rage law, will it help?

Jun 4, 2024, 5:25 PM | Updated: 6:35 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s recently passed road rage law takes effect July 1, but one of the lawmakers who crafted it says the law alone can only go so far in curbing Utah’s road rage problem.

The law criminalizes road rage as “an incident that occurred or escalated upon a roadway and with the intent to endanger or intimidate an individual in another vehicle.”

It then enhances reckless driving penalties.

For example, it takes a Class B misdemeanor and enhances it to a Class A. The same happens with a Class A misdemeanor, which is enhanced to a 3rd-degree felony.

The law will increase fines starting at $750 and can go as high as $1,000. The perpetrator’s driver’s license will be revoked, and they could have up to 15 years of jail time, which are some of the stiffer penalties.

If someone uses a dangerous weapon, penalties could be enhanced further.

Law enforcement promises to aggressively hold road-rage drivers accountable

State Sen. Todd Weiler, R-District 8, helped craft the new law but said the law alone can only do so much.

“I think we need people to be good citizens. We need law enforcement to step up and be actively patrolling these situations. We need prosecutors to prosecute appropriately. But at least for now, until we get more data, I think the legislature has done what it can,” he said.

The law will also allow the state to collect more data on when road rage incidents are happening. It requires courts to report the number of offenses and enhancements to the Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Interim Committee no later than November 1, 2027.

Weiler said it’s possible tweaks could happen if the data calls for it.

“We want to give people an incentive to be good citizens and be good drivers and a disincentive from being jerks out there on the road,” he said.

Shooter questioned and released after Clearfield road rage shooting left another man dead

Money from the enhanced fines goes into a fund that will help fund future education and media campaigns.

“I think we saw that during the drought two years ago when people were educated, they started conserving water without government mandates per se. And so we’re hoping to see a similar effect here,” Weiler said.

In January, Road to Zero Fatalities ran an ad called “In the Blink of an Eye,” which outlines everything that could be lost – family, freedom, and loved ones – if you choose to get mad while driving.

Weiler echoed that sentiment, saying that it “takes two to tango” when it comes to road rage, but urged the person who reacts to an aggressive driver to think twice.

“Count to ten and take a deep breath, and just let that jerk go by because if you engage them, it might get ten times worse,” he said.

KSL 5 TV Live

Crime

A Salt Lake City police officer, left, takes a person into custody after the man sold drugs to unde...

Mark Jones

Two-day drug operation along Jordan River Trail leads to more than 20 arrests, SLCPD says

More than 20 people were arrested during a two-day drug interdiction operation earlier this month along the Jordan River Park Trail.

1 day ago

A Clearfield City police truck is in the snow...

Carlysle Price

18-year-old hospitalized after Clearfield shooting

Clearfield City Police Department said an 18-year-old was shot Friday night in a shooting between a group of adults and juveniles.

1 day ago

An SLCPD car with it's lights on. (Salt Lake City Police Department)...

Carlysle Price

SLCPD arrest fugitive shooting suspect

The Salt Lake City Police Department said a fugitive suspect wanted in connection to a shooting in February was arrested Friday, according to a press release.

1 day ago

Handcuffs in a jail cell. (Ravell Call/Deseret News)...

Michael Houck

State employee arrested, accused of having sex with a teenager

A man who works for Utah Department of Government Operations was arrested and accused of giving a teenager drugs and having sex with her.

2 days ago

The Supreme Court decided Friday to uphold a federal gun control law that is meant to protect victi...

Brian Carlson

Supreme Court upholds gun law intended to protect domestic violence victims

The Supreme Court decided Friday to uphold a federal gun control law that is meant to protect victims of domestic violence. The law prevents people with a domestic violence restraining order from having a gun.

2 days ago

The American Fork couple who was found dead in apparent murder-suicide on June 19, 2024....

Michael Houck and Lindsay Aerts, KSL TV

American Fork police rule married couple deaths as murder-suicide

Police have released the identities of the married couple found dead in American Fork Thursday and are ruling it was a murder-suicide. 

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Utah drivers to see enhanced penalties in July 1 road rage law, will it help?