Utah Distracted Driving Laws

Utah has enacted distracted driving laws in an effort to protect its citizens from the dangers of distracted driving. Your Utah distracted driving accident lawyer understands these laws and can help get you the compensation you deserve if you get hurt. These regulations aim to reduce the number of accidents caused by drivers who are not fully focused on the road while driving.

Unfortunately, the number of distractions that drivers can subject themselves to has only increased over the years. Residents of Utah should be aware of the dangers of distracted driving and know what to do in the event that they are hurt in a collision, whether as a driver, passenger, bicyclist, or pedestrian. The regulations against distracted driving in Utah include precise limitations and exclusions on what you can do while driving a car. It’s worthwhile to give considerable thought to what you need to know about Utah’s distracted driving laws and your legal choices.

How Does Utah Define Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving in Utah is any activity that diverts a driver’s attention from the primary task of driving, such as texting, talking on the phone, eating, drinking, applying makeup, or adjusting the radio or GPS. Furthermore, drivers are not allowed to engage in any activity that takes their eyes off the road.

What Does the Law Specifically Prohibit?

In Utah, using handheld wireless communication devices while operating a motor vehicle is against Utah Code Section 41-6a-1716. However, a few exceptions apply, like using handheld wireless communication during a medical emergency or reporting criminal activity. 

According to the Utah code, a wireless communication device can be any of several things, including:

  • Cell phones
  • Tablets
  • GPS
  • Laptops
  • Personal digital devices

As your Utah distracted driving accident lawyer can tell you, the law further states that these things may not be used to manually execute tasks like the following while driving a moving motor vehicle on a highway:

  • Write a text message
  • Send a text message
  • Read a text message
  • Take a photo or video
  • Access the internet
  • View a photo or video

This law expressly states that two-way radios “or a functional equivalent” are not permitted.

Are There Exceptions?

Drivers may use hands-free devices to make phone calls or send messages but must have them mounted on the dashboard or windshield. To be more specific, the following can be done by residents of Utah while driving:

  • Vocal communication
  • Use voice-activated technologies
  • Declare a disaster or crime

If they are acting in the course and scope of their professions, these exclusions also allow police enforcement and emergency services workers to utilize wireless communication devices. In essence, using a voice-technology on a device while driving allows you to handle crises and converse on the phone hands-free only in Utah.

Other Activities that Count as Distracted Driving in Utah

The use of electronic devices isn’t the only thing that counts as distracted driving. Remember, Utah defines distracted driving as anything that takes the driver’s attention off the road. Under that general definition, other activities count as distracted driving. For example:

  • Reading
  • Fixing hair or makeup in the rearview mirror
  • Eating and drinking
  • Talking to passengers
  • Watching a passenger in the backseat
  • Tending to pets or kids in the vehicle
  • Watching activities or scenery to the sides of the vehicle
  • Adjusting dashboard controls like the radio, temperature, etc.
  • Reaching for things on the passenger side floor
  • Donning or removing apparel, such as an overcoat
  • Fiddling with the overhead light in the vehicle
  • Playing/interacting with adjacent drivers
  • and more

As you can see, this list is quite extensive, and it can also be subjective. Therefore you should always consult with a Salt Lake City car accident lawyer if an accident occurs. Never try to decide for yourself if distracted driving was a factor in a car accident. A Salt Lake City car accident lawyer will be able to investigate and determine if there is probable cause that distracted driving in Utah was involved.

What To Do If You Are Injured in a Car Accident Involving a Distracted Driver?

If you or a loved one are injured in a car accident involving a distracted driver in Utah, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention for any injuries. Once you are safe and receiving the necessary medical treatment, it’s important to gather information about the accident, including the driver’s name and contact information, their insurance information, and any witness statements or contact information.

It’s also advisable to contact the police and make an official report of the accident, which will help to document the incident and provide a record for any legal proceedings.

You should also get in touch with distracted driving accident attorneys in Salt Lake City. They can help you understand your legal rights and options, including the possibility of pursuing compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

It’s essential to take immediate action to protect your legal interests by contacting distracted driving accident attorneys in Salt Lake City if you’re involved in a car accident involving a distracted driver. Contact Craig Swapp & Associates today.

Written By: Ryan Swapp     Legal Review By: Craig Swapp