SALT LAKE CITY — Texting while driving became illegal in Utah in 2009. Three years later, rapidly changing cellphone technology has lawmakers scrambling to catch up.
A new proposal, SB98, would update the texting ban to prohibit drivers from sending emails, reading text, viewing images or sending data on their cellphones as well.
Making or receiving phone calls would still be allowed under the proposal, and using a cellphone or other device for gps navigation would also be OK.
But the proposal may have to be updated to account for more recent advances in cellphone technology.
Sen. Kevin Van Tassel, R-St. George, noted that his cellphone allows him to send and receive text messages verbally. Would that be considered texting while driving? he asked.
Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, who is sponsoring the bill, said the language of the proposal may have to be changed to accommodate verbal text messaging.
"The real question is if you take your eyes and your thoughts off the road," Hillyard said.
Senate Transportation Committee voted unanimously to send the measure to full Senate.
Earlier in the session, the full Senate approved SB128, which would ban drivers under 18 years old from using cellphones, except to call parents or in emergencies. That bill is now before the House.