Utah legislator intends to reintroduce distracted driving bill

A legislator in Utah has plans to introduce a bill in the next year that would allow drivers talk on their cellphone behind the wheel.

A legislator in Utah wants to reintroduce a bill next year that would allow drivers in the state to have greater access to their phones as they drive, states Fox 13. The state representative says he intends to do this because even though legislation is in place to prevent drivers from using their cellphones, people still text and talk using a handheld device while they're on the road anyway.

If this bill is passed, drivers would be allowed to answer their phone and talk on it with the device held up to their ear as their vehicle is in motion. They would also be allowed to dial phone numbers. However, texting and driving would still be prohibited.

Does the existing distracted driving law actually work?

According to Fox 13, one of the reasons why this legislator wants to reintroduce this bill is because no evidence currently exists that proves that the current distracted driving law in the state has been effective. Since the existing bill was passed, 1,300 people have been pulled over for violating it, and only 380 of these drivers were ticketed for this offense.

However, the Utah Highway Patrol believes that motor vehicle accidents involving distractionhave declined since the enactment of stricter distracted driving legislation in the state. In 2013, the UHP states that there were 140 accidents involving cellphone use and 126 collisions involving this same activity in 2014.

Many other forms of distracted driving exist

Although allowing drivers to talk on their cellphone behind the wheel could have an impact on the number of cellphone-related accidents that occur in Utah, many other forms of distraction that are not accounted for under this legislation and other laws exist and endanger the lives of others. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, distracted driving includes any activity that takes a driver's full attention away from the road. This means that a driver can become distracted when he or she:

  • Talks to a passenger in his or her vehicle
  • Switches the station on the radio
  • Looks at a GPS device to get directions to his or her destination
  • Tries to eat or drink while travelling to work
  • Performs personal grooming activities, like shaving or putting on makeup, behind the wheel

Those who become distracted behind the wheel in Utah often cause serious car accidents that physically, emotionally and financially harm those involved. If you were injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, consult with an attorney in your area to determine what compensation may be available to you.