In 2018, 2,841 people were killed by distracted driving including drivers, passengers, pedestrians and even bicyclists according to NHTSA reports.
Texting and driving is an unfortunate reality on the roads of America. So many people do it, endangering their lives and others’. Hopefully you have already committed to never driving distracted, and to encourage those you love to keep their focus on the roads and not their phones.
But if you need a little more persuading or reason to encourage your loved ones to keep their phones tucked away when they’re driving – here is exactly what you need to know about texting & driving in Utah.
What is Illegal?
In Utah, distracted driving can be defined in many ways, but essentially the driver is distracted from giving his or her full energy to the road while operating a vehicle. This could be texting or using a mobile phone, using radios or video screens, helping or interacting with children, eating and drinking, or anything that could prevent the driver from paying attention to the road.
Texting and driving is considered a “primary law” which means you can be pulled over for doing it no matter how safely you may be driving.
Distracted driving is illegal, but “careless driving” is an additional charge when a driver commits a moving violation (running stop signs or red lights, etc.) while driving distracted. Texting and driving is considered a “primary law” which means you can be pulled over for doing it no matter how safely you may be driving. The argument that you aren’t speeding or breaking any other laws simply won’t hold up when the officer pulls you over.
Texting and driving is a misdemeanor, and it carries a fine of $750 for the initial violation. Up to three months in jail can be required as well. That doesn’t include any moving violations or “careless driving” violations. If death or injury occurred due to the texting and driving the fine jumps up to $10,000 and is considered a felony charge with 15 years in prison possible.
The charges are incredibly serious and can be more dramatic if there have been prior convictions or charges in recent years. The charges can affect your driving record and insurance depending on the circumstances. It’s time to get serious about your texting and driving habit, and to encourage those around you to stop texting and driving. It will keep everyone more safe and prevent serious harm. It may seem minor or “not a big deal” but actually the consequences are quite severe. Don’t do it! It’s time to put the phone away.
If you have been involved in an accident, our attorneys can help represent you and protect your future, no matter the circumstances of the accident.