New cell phone law: what you can and cannot do

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SALT LAKE CITY -- The way you can legally use your cell phone while driving will change. A new law goes into effect in Utah Tuesday.

So what can and can't you do?

"Can you answer the phone?" asked Fern Hill.

There are still so many questions about what you can and can't do under the new distracted driving law in Utah.

"You can still use your hands-free, that's all I'm really aware of," said motorist Rob Riegel.

Motorists can talk on the phone, hands free, or not. They can also use voice commands, dial a number during an emergency, or to report crime and view GPS or navigation coordinates.

Here's a list of what you can't do under the new law:

-Send, write or read texts -- same goes for instant messages and email

-You can't dial a number

-Access the Internet

-View or record video

-Enter data in your cell phone

"Any manipulation is a violation so if we see a person and their phone is up to their face and their thumb is going crazy over the front of the phone it`s obvious they are doing something," said Col. Superintendent Danny Fuhr with the Utah Highway Patrol.

UHP says at first, law enforcement will be educating the public about the new law but some worry about how far police will go.

"The fear is it will allow police to stop whoever they want – ‘oh, I thought you were using your phone,’ and it will allow police to stop whoever they chose to stop," said Clayton Simms, a Utah Criminal Defense Attorney.

"Our intent is to not hammer the public the highway patrol 50 percent of what we do is writing warnings for violations we`re really big into education," Fuhr said.

Riegel thinks the more restrictions the better for his safety and others.

"I'm kind of excited they're going to be enforcing this," he said.

A violation of the new distracted driving law is a Class C misdemeanor and carries a fine of up to $100. If you cause an accident or injure someone then it's a Class B misdemeanor, with a fine up to $1,000.

11 comments

  • david morton

    What about the police? I see them use their phones… Mayb the next cop I see on their phone. If their behind me! Break check. Lol

  • Gary Riehl

    And the cops get to use laptops. Maybe I will just start driving around with my laptop in my car instead.

  • buffaloandgiraffe

    I would like to know what the actual “rule” is for law enforcement when it comes to their use of cell phones and laptops. I see them using their laptop while driving all the time. Doesn’t seem right to me. Anyone know the regulation?

  • PETER

    I ALSO SEE COPS ON THERE PHONES AN LAPTOPS WHILE DRIVING AND MAKING PHONE CALLS NOW I TRULY FIND THAT UNFAIR I ALMOST GOT HIT BY A COP IN HER SQUAD CAR WHILE I WAS ON MY BIKE BECAUSE SHE WAS ON HER LAPTOP AN ALL THE PPL YOU GUYS SHOW ON THE VIDEO OF PPL GETTING PULLED OVER FOR BEING ON THERE PHONE ARE ALL WHITE WHERE ARE THE MEXICANS OR AFRICANS ETC. I FIND THAT RACIST

    • De La Cruz D.

      I see you’re very concerned about pedestrian safety, due to your experience. But, in all reality, do you really have to bring race into this? It’s 2014, Gays are getting married, interracial families are being formed, and you’re here worrying about why only white people get caught texting and driving. A bit childish, dont you think?

  • David Brown

    Cops can check their phones and laptops because what they’re doing has to do with public safety. Police are exempt from many small traffic laws because they are the law. But that’s not the point of this article. The point of it is that you are not allowed to use your phone in the car anymore. Period. End of story. And just because you see a police officer on their phone while driving, it doesn’t mean you have an excuse to pull yours out and potentially cause an accident.

  • none of your business

    I use my phone for music so apparently I’m supposed to lose my mind while driving without music then?

Comments are closed.

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