Unlike many other states, Utah doesn't restrict all cell phone and wireless device use while driving. This article gives an overview of Utah's distracted driving law, including what it prohibits and the penalties for violations.
Utah essentially has a hands-free law for using a cell phone while driving. So long as a driver is using hands-free technology, talking on a cell phone while operating a vehicle is perfectly legal.
However, Utah's distracted driving law explicitly prohibits drivers from dialing a phone number while operating a vehicle.
Under Utah law, motorists are generally prohibited from using a cell phone or other handheld wireless device to write, send, or read a written communication, including:
The law also bans drivers from:
Also, as previously noted, drivers aren't allowed to dial phone numbers while operating a vehicle.
Utah's distracted driving law applies to wireless telephones, text messaging devices, laptops, and all substantially similar devices. However, the law doesn't prohibit using GPS devices or systems that are "physically or electronically integrated" into the vehicle.
Utah's text-messaging law contains a number of exceptions. The prohibition doesn't apply to:
But remember, as to the first exception, dialing a phone number is prohibited under Utah's distracted driving laws.
Some traffic violations are considered "secondary" violations. Police don't have the authority to stop vehicles for secondary violations, though they can cite a driver for a secondary violation if there is some other valid reason for the stop.
In some states, distracted driving is a secondary violation, However, Utah's distracted driving statute is considered a "primary" law—meaning an officer who spots a violation can stop the driver without having another reason for doing so.
The consequences of a distracted driving violation depend on the circumstances. But generally, the possible penalties are:
Generally, a judge can (but isn't required to) suspend a motorist's license for up three months for a distracted driving violation. And a distracted driving conviction will add 50 points to the motorist's driving record. Typically, accumulating 200 or more points within a three-year period can lead to license suspension.