Many car accidents in Utah and across the country have been caused by distracted drivers who text and drive at the same time. Drivers who choose to text, or otherwise communicate by a wireless device while driving, neglect their duty of care and jeopardize the safety of others.
For this reason, the state of Utah, like most states, has enacted a statutory law that prohibits texting while driving. Soon after its enactment, Utah’s statute was ranked by an insurance website as the toughest in the country.
Overview of Utah’s ban
Under Utah’s statutory ban, a driver may not use a handheld wireless communication device while driving on a highway to do any of the following:
- Send a text message or email from the device.
- Read text or view images on the device.
- Manipulate an application from the device.
The statutory ban provides a number of exceptions, including the following, among others:
- The driver is making or receiving a telephone call.
- The driver is using the device for global positioning or navigation services.
- The driver is involved in a medical emergency.
- The driver is reporting a safety hazard or criminal activity.
- The driver is providing roadside or medical assistance.
Penalties and fines
A person convicted of violating Utah’s statutory ban is generally guilty of a Class C misdemeanor (currently punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $750). The level of offense can be increased to a Class B misdemeanor (currently punishable by up to six months and a fine of up to $1,000) if the banned behavior results in serious bodily injury to another or if the driver was convicted of the same violation within three years of the current violation.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a driver and believe that texting may have been the cause, contact an experienced Utah personal injury lawyer to learn your rights. The attorneys at Larsen, Larsen, Nash & Larsen can help you obtain just compensation for your injuries.