New bill aims to stop cell phone related crashes in Utah

Utah's toughest-in-the-nation standard for drunk driving is not currently matched by a tough law about the use of cell phones or other distracting devices, despite the growing awareness that technology distraction is a danger comparable to drunk driving.

State Representative Carol Spackman Moss—a Democrat from Holladay—says her bill would change that by making it illegal to handle a cell phone or other device while driving.

"Ideally we wouldn't talk on the phone while we drive, but I think we're too far down the line to pull that back," said Moss, describing why her bill would still allow for hands-free operation of a phone with Bluetooth or other technology.

Current state law says drivers cannot manipulate a phone while driving, meaning they can't type, text or initiate calls with their hands.

The Utah Highway Patrol tells Fox 13 that from January 1 to December 28 of 2017, they pulled over 1,756 drivers for distracted driving related to using cell phones or other electronic devices.

In that same period of time they pulled over 146,023 people for speeding.

Moss hopes her bill would make the law easier to enforce. She says Utah would join 15 other states with such a rule.