Unlike many other states, Utah doesn’t restrict all cellphone and wireless device use while driving. Utah drivers are generally allowed to talk on a cellphone. But most text-based communications using a cellphone or wireless device are prohibited.
This article gives an overview of what Utah’s distracted driving law covers and the consequences of a violation.
Under Utah law, motorists are generally prohibited from using a cellphone or other handheld wireless device to write, send, or read a written communication, including:
The law also bans drivers from:
Included wireless devices. 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.
Exceptions. Utah’s text-messaging law contains a number of exceptions. The prohibition doesn’t apply to:
(Utah Code Ann. § 41-6a-1716 (2017).)
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 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.
(Utah Code Ann. § § 41-6a-1716, 53-3-218, 76-3-204, 76-3-301 (2017); Utah Admin. Code r. R708-3 (2017).)