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Utah

What the new distracted driving law means for you

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  • NorthOfHere Rexburg, ID
    May 14, 2014 10:12 a.m.

    Being from out of state, whenever I travel on Utah's roads I say a fervent prayer for protection.

    Utah is infamous for dangerous drivers. There is a texting problem, granted. However, I feel like some of the biggest problems are excessive speed, tailgating, aggressive lane changes and an all-out disregard for human life via an "out of my way, grandma" mentality. When a motorist going the speed limit is frequently passed as if they aren't moving, tailgated and cut-off and in general fearing for their life, the problem isn't texting. I realize the UHP would be extremely busy if they "got" everyone who was engaging in such driving practices, but what are they there for?

    Things can be done to curb the travel dangers in Utah. This law may mean well, but doesn't target the more pressing problems. Clear guidelines for penalizing speeding and otherwise dangerous/reckless driving should be communicated and then enforced. Fines should be increased. The result will be less fatalities and then Utah's legislature can then focus on texting while driving.

  • EJH Lindon, UT
    May 12, 2014 11:39 a.m.

    This law frustrates me so much. First of all, I am shocked that in a relatively conservative state such as Utah, we has such an invasive law. Sometimes I can't find the button to turn on my back window wiper, so I have to look down, so should that be illegal? I look back in the rear view mirror occasionally to acknowledge one of my kids, so should that be illegal? What line do they draw to what I can and can't do? When will it become even more invasive in our lives? You can tell how hard it is to draw the line because they allow somethings, like GPS (which I would need to look at a whole lot more) which are much more complicated than me pushing my speed dial.
    Second, there are distractions all around. I find I am actually more focused when talking on the phone because if not I am looking at all the buildings and billboards around more.
    I just hope they don't keep pushing further into our lives until more and more of what we do is dictated by the government.

  • spinner carlsbad, NM
    May 12, 2014 10:21 a.m.

    OK, while I understand the importance of the message I have to cringe of the misuse of the English language in the text of the message. I am referring to the word your as in possive the case vs you are contracted to you're. Is the author really writing this or quoting a written statement from the police officer? If the author wrote this and used "your" meaning you are then shame on the author. If the police officer wrote your instead of you are or you're then shame on him. There are quite a few of us out there who notice this type of error and just grit our teeth. Keep up your quality of writing please.

  • Alfred Phoenix, AZ
    May 11, 2014 9:47 p.m.

    Mr. Informative: "This will become a revenue generator."

    Cops (city/state/county) already have revenue generators not being used... Called ticketing speeders and tailgaters. It will also save lives way more then the stupid distracted driving law.

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    May 11, 2014 8:56 p.m.

    I'm glad this law exists. It's not perfect but I hope it will help. I don't see why it is so hard for a person to refrain from using a cell phone while they are driving. I don't make phone calls while driving and if I get a call I don't answer it until I get a chance to pull off the road and return the call. Is that so difficult?

  • GSnow20 Vernal, UT
    May 11, 2014 5:43 p.m.

    @ JapanCougar

    This is not a good law, it is only more confusing. You can still do some things like look up contact info, or use GPS, or use voice commands, but not text. I can send a text using "Siri", and never take my eyes off the road. So did I just break the law. We don't need any more laws, just people with some common sense.

    @ Dave Duncan

    I was thinking the same thing as you. This Schappler college kid gets in a fender bender from using GPS, and it is still lawful to use GPS. I'm not sure he was the best example to use in this story. By the way Mr. Schappler, if you need a law for motivation not to text etc while driving, then what's next ? A law to motivate you do get your home work done ?

    @Mom

    HAPPY MOTHERS DAY MOM
    I LOVE YOU !

  • BU52 Provo, ut
    May 11, 2014 3:59 p.m.

    Baby steps to a more complete police state. Pass laws that allow great capriciousness by the enforcing officer and pretty soon we just learn to accept their authority, but what can you do with a legislature which like a hammer sees everything as a nail. Hopefully the courts can exercise some sense and restraint, but I'm not holding my breath.

  • JapanCougar Apo, AP
    May 11, 2014 1:19 p.m.

    2 things:

    1. Bypass giving citations and go straight to giving tickets. This is a good law. It's wrong to use a cellphone when driving because you are putting others at risk and occasionally killing others. Penalize it now.

    2. I agree with all those who said they need to enforce speeding. Start using speed cameras!! They save money and effectively deter speeding. In Korea driving is horrendous, unless you are on the freeway where there are tons of speeding camera and the driving miraculously becomes more civilized. I hate getting tickets as much as anyone else, but enforcement of laws keeps order. (If you want to see lawless driving take a taxi ride in China sometime).

  • Hank Jr Draper, UT
    May 11, 2014 1:08 p.m.

    Note to Sen. Stephen Urquhart. Your new law is a pathetic attempt to enact a REAL law concerning REAL safety measures. I can't believe lawmakers wasted their time on anything less than a 'HANDS FREE' law. So it's OK now for driver's ed to teach students how to drive one handed? Everyone else will be. Get the picture? Another vain attempt to promote safety on Utah's highways.

  • I M LDS 2 Provo, UT
    May 11, 2014 12:51 p.m.

    This is a bad law.

    Having said that, please, everybody, stop distracted driving! Legal or not, distracted driving is just plain stupid!

  • I know it. I Live it. I Love it. Provo, UT
    May 11, 2014 12:26 p.m.

    This is another example of law makers spending more time making laws that don't help us, and therefore wasting tax dollars.

    Enforcement is not a prevention method, but a means of correction. If you want to stop visual distractions you need to end the need for visual usage. Microsoft's Sync system and similar alternatives do this.

    Research shows that visual distractions are usually only solved when cars have the system in place to avoid visual usage. Common sense says "well duh...". I want more people talking in cars because that means less people dosing off or getting bored with the road. More talking is good, less visual usage is good. Answer = more talking with a car system.

    The answer has always been obvious. I'd rather law makers give car companies a reason to build cars the right way than pretend they can enforce the unenforceable.

  • Mr. Informative Layton, UT
    May 11, 2014 11:24 a.m.

    A word of advice, leave your phone out of site, if your pulled over, the officer is sure to point it out and begin a line of questions. They will say they saw you using your phone, write a ticket and tell you by signing the ticket that your not admitting guilt. Worse they will want to search your phone using probable cause. When you go to court, you will have to prove your innocense, it will come to your word against the officers, the officer will swear-in and say he/she saw you using your phone and the judge will rule against you. Or like most you will just pay the ticket, protect and leave your phone out of site. This will become a revenue generator.

  • Mr. Informative Layton, UT
    May 11, 2014 10:55 a.m.

    This law will be used as probable cause, to stop you ask for proof of insurance, license and registration, and look for anything that a ticket can be written for. This is another law, which benifits the rich that can afford new cars with blue tooth. Same as car pool lanes, which passes can be bought for one person travel. Same as all same year cars paying the same yearly registration fees as opposed to paying based on the value of the vehicle. Police will use this law to harass the people!

  • Reflectere Utah, UT
    May 11, 2014 10:28 a.m.

    Cops can't force you to divulge passwords to your phone. Currently, some court districts have no precedence over cops searching your phone without a warrant while others require a warrant. The issue of law enforcement being able to search your cell without a warrant was argued in the Supreme Court on April 29th and a vote is forthcoming. Something to be watching in light of the new Utah law.

    Personally I think that banning the ability to dial a number while allowing drivers to look up contact information is a huge contradiction. It's far more distracting to scroll through contact information than it is to dial a phone number you have memorized.

  • blondegoddess Midvale, UT
    May 11, 2014 9:48 a.m.

    This is a very slippery slope people and nothing more than a vehicle for more revenues for the cities and state. Eleven people were killed last year as a direct result of texting and for this we are all now being restricted. The #1 cause of death is pharmaceutical drugs and hospital mistakes and I don't see our lawmakers addressing that! This is all we need, one more law restricting "we the people". We need to start reeling in government!!!

  • Dave T in Ogden Ogden, UT
    May 11, 2014 9:29 a.m.

    I believe car insurance companies ought to require cars be stocked with cell phone block technology whenever the car is moving. In exchange, they (car insurance companies) should give huge premiums discounts to those families paying for car insurance.
    As too many drivers are texting while driving, to prevent this, GPS chips would be placed within the license plate that will deactivate text-messaging service if the car is moving. Only the driver would be required to enter their cell phone number, thus this system will only block the driver's cell phone. Thus allowing the passengers to have cell phone coverage. The car insurance company could contract with a car repair chain, to install this system. The car insurance company would pay it for 100 percent of the costs.
    Finally, if you wish to adopt this system would be fully volunteering bases, if you find this system too intrusive, then you do NOT have to adopt it. However car insurance companies ought to give big premiums discounts for those who do adopt it.
    This system will prevent the drivers from being tempted from texting while driving. Then you save lives.

  • Dave Duncan Orem, UT
    May 11, 2014 8:41 a.m.

    wrz said: "The cop can and will (legally) confiscate the phone to see when and to whom the last call was made. If it falls within the time frame of the officer spotting the action, the user would be toast."

    How will they do that? Precedent has already been established that the police cannot force you to give up your password to unlock your smart phone. That is considered forced self-incrimination, and is prohibited by the 5th amendment to US Constitution.

    The government has the burden to prove you committed a crime. You do not have to prove your innocence.

  • Dave Duncan Orem, UT
    May 11, 2014 8:36 a.m.

    The worst drivers I have encountered on the road fall into these three categories--none of which is prohibited by the new law:
    1 Someone talking on the phone, with it held to their ear.
    2 Someone engrossed in conversation with a passenger in the vehicle.
    3 Police who are looking up info on their in-vehicle laptop, literally typing while driving.

    I say that if someone is driving poorly, the police should pull them over and warn or cite them for it--whatever the cause may be. If the are driving fine, leave them alone!

  • Dave Duncan Orem, UT
    May 11, 2014 8:37 a.m.

    And this is ironic:

    Schappler said, "I know that [texting while driving is] definitely not a good thing...and I think if there was a law about it that would ... be like that extra little boost that I need to not do it anymore."

    I guess he didn't know that texting while driving was ALREADY illegal?

    ... he was recently involved in a fender-bender on his way to work after being more focused on his GPS than the road.

    Viewing your GPS, which is what caused his "fender bender" will still be legal.]

  • Dave Duncan Orem, UT
    May 11, 2014 8:24 a.m.

    If this is supposed to be a "clarification" of the law, and more enforceable, this is pathetic. Listen to these confusing statements from the article by those who supposedly understand and/or will enforce this law:

    "it will remain lawful to look up contact information, use voice commands, view GPS or navigation coordinates and talk on the phone while driving."

    "Any manipulation of your cellphone or your laptop while you're driving is what we are going to be looking for,” said Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Todd Royce.

    How will the cop know that texting, rather than looking up contact info? You get pulled over for "manipulating" the phone, and then tell them you were just looking up contact info? What's to keep someone from saying they were, even if they weren't?

  • md Cache, UT
    May 11, 2014 7:41 a.m.

    "Any manipulation of your cellphone or your laptop while you're driving is what we are going to be looking for,” said Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Todd Royce.

    So, how do we make a citizen's arrest of the officers that frequently have their laptop functioning while driving?

  • Chuck E. Racer Lehi, UT
    May 11, 2014 5:07 a.m.

    These kinds of laws don't actually do much, except gradually get the people to ignore the law. There are already too many laws for people to understand and obey. This gradually leads to having the people disregard the rule of law.

    There is another negative result. Few people will actually be "caught," except those who are in an accident where they already will have paid an extremely high price as the consequence of texting while driving, and this ticket will just be a kick them while they're down penalty.

    I don't support this kind of law.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    May 10, 2014 11:30 p.m.

    wer:
    "Even then, the driver can claim he/she was using GPS."

    The cop can and will (legally) confiscate the phone to see when and to whom the last call was made. If it falls within the time frame of the officer spotting the action, the user would be toast.

    "To really make a difference, state legislators need to make it illegal to use any portable electronic device while the driver is behind the wheel of a vehicle."

    Such as turning on your wipers? Or, turning on/adjusting your radio? How about the cigarette lighter?

  • wer South Jordan, UT
    May 10, 2014 10:46 p.m.

    This law is virtually worthless. Unless a law enforcement officer clearly sees a driver actually dialing or texting a phone while driving, forget it. Even then, the driver can claim he/she was using GPS.

    This is just another "fake action to help us legislators look and feel good".

    To really make a difference, state legislators need to make it illegal to use any portable electronic device while the driver is behind the wheel of a vehicle.

    After Tuesday, motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians will be at just as much risk as we are now.

  • Commodore West Jordan, UT
    May 10, 2014 9:54 p.m.

    I have mixed feelings about this new law.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    May 10, 2014 9:08 p.m.

    What the law should do, if accidents are to avoided and lives saved, is to make it illegal to drive over the posted speed limit.

    Wait, that's already illegal! Perhaps the Highway Patrol should enforce the speeding law because most highway deaths are attributed to exceeding speed limits.

    Wouldn't it be a bit hilarious if the cops enforced the new 'distracted driving' law as vigorously as they enforce the speed laws?

  • Prodicus Provo, UT
    May 10, 2014 4:40 p.m.

    A clarification: if your vehicle is not moving you can do whatever you want with your cell phone or other electronic equipment. Take care of things while stopped at a long stoplight, or pull over to the side of the road. Don't take your eyes off the road while your vehicle is moving.