Comments about ‘New cellphone restrictions catch some Utah motorists by surprise’

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Published: Friday, April 4 2014 6:30 p.m. MDT

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Lehi, UT

It is going to make life a lot easier. It has been very difficult to be on the phone, hold a drink, and keep an arm on the steering wheel.

Springville, UT

"I don't dial or text a lot when I'm driving,"

Really? Even a little is too much. Everyone thinks it won't happen to them, that they can handle it. In the meantime, people die.

Sandy, Utah

This article needs to be more specific. If state legislatures are going to be regulating certain small and common actions, but not others, I want to know exactly where the line is. From this article, it seems like manipulating my phone in a way that I look at my phone and not the road is a punishable offense, but having the phone up against my ear and talking while driving is not. However, due to the lack of specifics in this article, and not knowing where I can find the original wording of the law, I can only assume the following: 1) If I can dial someone without looking down from the road, I'm not breaking the law. 2) If someone calls me, and I can answer the phone without looking down from the road, I'm not breaking the law. 3) If a Trooper pulls me over for talking on a cell phone while driving, and I know that my eyes never left the road in order to make/answer that call, I can know that I am innocent.

Riverton, UT

When is it going to be illegal to eat a hamburger while driving. Or even drink from a straw. Also, taking to an individual while driving could take some peoples eyes off the road for a few moments. Checking your mirrors is also a distraction. We need to pass a new law that requires all people who drive to where horse blinders (the kind that make sure you only see straight ahead) so there is no possibility of distraction.

Or we could let common sense prevail and teach people the right way to drive and not pass a lot of un-enforceable laws.

Option two sounds less complicated.


It's about time that a law like this is passed. It is only needed because too many people feel that they can drive and pay attention to their phones instead of looking where they should be looking, at the road in front of them.

I also agree with comments about having cops give people tickets who run red lights.

Richfield, UT

Simple way to fix the problem of phones & driving, pull over if you have to make a call, or if you have to answer a call you may have been waiting for, or use a hands free device. I have teens, ever since I got a cell phone again a few years ago when my oldest one started driving I have always made a point of handing my phone to one of the kids to answer, they tell people that mom is driving & we will be stopping in 3 blocks if we are close to our destination, do they want to wait or have me all them back? Sometimes it's a call I can take on speaker phone, no different than talking to someone in the car while driving. If I am expecting a call I will pullover to take it if I am alone or I call back when I finish driving. Texting is completely off limits while driving, only okay when in the car parked in a parking lot or driveway, period! I

Unicorn 2000
Cottonwood Heights, UT

While I might agree with some of the intent of this law, I think it is ironic that it has been passed in a state that's leadership is constantly beating the drum of small government and less interference from government.This law ignores the research that shows that handfree devices are just as dangerous. All they had to do is acknowledge the work aby Dr. David Strayer's at the University of Utah. But then again, we live in a state that's legislature tends to devalue education and research.
The problem is attention and the fact that humans have a limited capacity for attention. I will be looking forward to the computer screens being removed from all law enforcement vehicles.Like that will happen. This is just another piece of bad legislation in a state that seems to specialize in bad legislation. They have ignored the facts and created another law that reinforces a double standard.

Eagle Mountain, UT

wer - Talking on the phone does not have the same distraction level as drunk driving but texting does. Talking on the phone has the same level of distraction as talking to a passenger in your car. You are either misquoting the study (which I have read) or quoting one of those ridiculous agenda driven studies.

Cleetorn - That is the problem. You will never get that stat to zero no matter how many laws you pass, yet people like you will keep passing laws to try and control everything and everyone. Despite all the laws about pool fences and auto locking sliding doors many children still drown each year in backyard pools. Should we just outlaw pools? Laws based on emotional things are always a bad ides. Legislators should focus their energies on statistics based things yet they always seem to focus on the emotional thing that gets them the most votes.

Rocket Science
Brigham City, UT

Mayhem Mike, while 11 lives a year does not seem to be a significant number to you, when you know someone who is no longer with you because of the actions of another, that number is significant. I lost a friend and associate as two me left Logan one morning on their way to Thiokol (ATK). They were killed by a young man, whose life has since changed dramatically, who was using his device driving. We lost two friends and extraordinary rocket scientist that day but heir dear families lost husbands and fathers. This law IS NOT "nanny state" but a reasonable law for the privilege of driving and maintaining safety for all.

I would hope that the many police officers and highway patrol officers would also refrain from using there laptops while driving. When they use their laptops for whatever reason while driving, those who are there to protect become a danger to all around them. Does the law cover officers of the law. Do the local and state policies and procedures of police departments and the state Highway Patrol prohibit this dangerous practice of too many officers.

Bountiful, UT

Of course people shouldn't text, play games or search the web, but making dialing a phone illegal? That's going to far.

Pendleton, OR

transportation issues are a legitimate focus of small government thus such legislation is appropriate if not the best idea...

WRK: checking mirrors is not a distraction but a part of driving that is often left out if distracted...

cell phones are only one way to be distracted but because of the ubiquitous presence of technology and the worry about teen drivers, it is natural that cell phones would be targeted; it is already illegal to watch a movie from the front seat of a car for example...

I always put down my book when traffic gets thick and/or heavy even if it is not specifically illegal...

by demanding and encouraging driving aids in the name of safety, we have created the potential for distracted driving because it no longer takes all of our strength, attention and skill to operate these incredible machines...many of us can no longer parallel park our cars and with the new generation of cameras and parking aids and navigation aids on vehicles the next generation will have even fewer skills...

Fruit Heights, Utah

Many will object to this measure wondering why cell phones were singled out. How is changing a radio station, eating a sandwich or applying makeup any different. Many times they are not, however the major problem is that the National Transportation and Safety Board has pointed out that at any given time more than 12% of the traveling public is on a cell phone, Utah is probably much higher. I can imagine the howl from the traveling public if they new more than 1 of every 10 cars had an intoxicated driver on the road at any given time yet cell phone use, even hands free, has been shown to be the equivalent driving while impaired. Many will object to some slight depravation of their perceived civil rights, unfortunately when people cannot control themselves and put others at risk the new laws are inevitable, I am only sorry the legislature did not have the courage to ban all cell phone use. We have survived many centuries without cells phones I am sure we could survive a few minutes on the freeway without the phone.

West Bountiful, UT

Have you seen TWIT America on Facebook? You can post images of those texting on that site. Think People of Wal-Mart.

university place, WA


"Seems like Utah is joining the liberal establishment and joining the nanny state."

I know this might come as a surprise to you, but when you are driving you are not doing so in a vacuum. There will be other drivers on that same road as you. To assume your actions are not likely to impact others is a bit nonsensical. To put it more simply, when you are driving you do not have a right to do things that put me and the other drivers at risk and if it requires a nanny state to ensure you don't put others in danger, so be it.

Eagle Mountain, UT

Rocket Science - And therein lies the problem. Legislators should not pass laws based on emotion. That is how you end up with the worst of the laws. There are many things that cause tragedies in our lives but if the were all made illegal we would sit in padded rooms all day and "those who know best" would take care of us. People fall from ladders and die. Should we add a bunch of laws regarding that? There are risks involved in life but we do the best we can.

Had this been law at the time that young man probably still would have been texting and driving and the outcome would have been the same. A more sensible law would be one that increases the penalties if specific distracting acts contributed to an accident, not asking our police force to provide another layer of "security" for us.

Salt Lake, UT

Some here choose to call the new law a "nanny state", while ignoring the intent. In California, it is illegal to use a handset, but handsfree is fine. Ticket runs $150. It is also illegal to run a red light, and if you get caught on camera, the fine is $450.

Personally, I applaud the law, since I've been using a handsfree for over four years. It auto-answers my calls, and I can even voice dial by touching a button next to my ear. In doing so, my eyes don't leave the road, and I am not distracted.

To those who feel the distraction caused by looking at a phone is minor, hear this: six months ago, I was sitting at a stop light and was rear-ended by a young man who was looking at his phone. Over $1500 in damage to my truck and a week in pain from the impact.

Yesterday I was on 1-15 behind a guy that weaved in / out of the HOV lane at 70 MPH. When I was able to pass, I saw he had BOTH hands occupied with texting ! I would have called the UHP, but they are not on voice dial....sigh...

Phoenix, AZ

"WRZ Please quote your source that says speeding is the number one cause of death on highways. I'd like to read the data."

Look it up on the Internet. Can't post websites per DNews rules.

@Mark from Montana:
"I have lived in five different states and can tell you that Utah drivers are the worst I have seen."

True. And the most discourteous.

"If the UHP wants to reduce the number of crashes, then start handing out tickets for following too close."

Absolutely! Many drivers leave less than one car length between them and the guy in front of them... at 75 MPH no less. Go figure.

@Walt Nicholes:
"Speeding is not a cause of accidents at all!"

Wrong! Look it up. It's not only the prime cause of accidents, it's the prime cause of deaths on the highways.

"Consider how many lives could be saved if speeding were better enforced."

Never happen. Utah law enforcement apparently believes that a few deaths on the highways is worth the price of speeders getting to they're destination a few minutes early.

Salem, OR

Rather than micro-managing, by writing separate laws for every possible type of device that gradually becomes popular in the market place, the State of Utah should just write laws about DISTRACTED DRIVING.

Once I saw a driver right behind me who was SIMULTANEOUSLY: smoking, talking on a headset, and also putting on makeup.

That should certainly clarify as being DISTRACTED away from what was happening at that traffic light.

OREGON got it right, when it rewrote DUI laws to refer to DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE, without restricting its coverage to just alcohol. Oregon's DUI laws are broad, and include being influenced by Cough syrup; Allergy medicines; Side effects from EITHER Over-the-Counter medicines or Prescription medicines; or delayed side effects after taking Sleeping pills the previous night.

Drowsiness is "under the influence".

Distracting is Distracting!

Rocket Science
Brigham City, UT

PP, I used that example of persons I have known personally. This issue however is a statistics and a data driven issue. If you look up and study the issue a little more than an emotional blaming emotion, or some contrived effort to take away our freedoms. The data tells us there is a tremendous danger incurred when persons use their devices while driving. A danger as significant or more so than driving while DUI. The dangers go up as well for police officers using laptops while driving, case in point; an officer in Brigham City slams into the back of a truck while using his laptop while driving.

casual observer
Salt Lake City, UT

"…catch some Utah motorists by surprise…." Those are the motorists who need the law. The rest don't need the law to tell us how dangerous distracted driving is. When someone is driving on the interstate at 45 mph in the left lane or crosses 2-3 lanes to exit on I-215, chances are they are on their phone.

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