Even when you are doing everything in your power to stay safe on Utah’s roads, you cannot control other people. When your life changes as a result of someone else’s poor decision to pay more attention to their phone instead of the other drivers on the road, give our experienced attorneys a call.
You shouldn’t have to handle the frustration of medical bills and insurance claims on top of the pain and stress of the crash. Our Utah car accident lawyers are here to help you fight for your rights and for fair compensation after your accident. Contact us today for a free consultation on your case.
Why Work With the Attorneys at Christensen & Hymas?
With the experienced personal injury lawyers at Christensen & Hymas, we listen. We care. You’re not just a case number to us. No more worrying about saying the wrong things on recorded phone calls with insurance adjusters. No more settling for less than you deserve. We’ll handle everything for you. We’re dedicated to serving you and getting you the compensation you deserve.
What Is Utah’s Texting and Driving Law?
Utah’s texting and driving law is Utah Code § 41-6a-1716. It prohibits using a handheld device to text, message, send an email, browse the internet or watch a video. Even just entering information into a handheld device is a violation of the law. Phones, text messaging devices, laptops, and other handheld devices are included in the ban.
What Is Considered Distracted Driving in Utah?
When you hear distracted driving, most people think of texting. However, there are lots of ways that a person can be responsible for not paying enough attention while operating a motor vehicle, including visual, manual, and cognitive distractions.
Examples of distracted driving in Utah include:
- Using a cell phone or other electronic device that is not hands-free
- Searching for something in the vehicle
- Text messaging
- Doing an internet search or browsing
- Using an app
- Eating or drinking
- Paying too much attention to surroundings like scenery and billboards
- Letting your mind wander
GPS navigation technology and hands-free/voice-operated devices are okay. Plus, there is an exception for medical emergencies and reporting hazards or crimes.
What Are the Penalties for Distracted Driving in Utah?
Penalties for distracted driving in Utah vary based on the offense charged and the harm that results. The penalty for careless driving in Utah is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $750 fine.
The state may suspend an operating license in cases where careless driving causes death. Texting while driving is a Class C misdemeanor with a fine of up to $100, or a Class B offense if a bodily injury results or there is a prior conviction within three years.
An offender may face criminal homicide if a death occurs because of distracted driving. An offense may be punished by up to 15 years in prison. In addition, the victim may have a valid legal claim for monetary compensation for any situation where distracted driving causes an injury.
Distracted Driving Statistics
Most people know that it’s dangerous to text and drive. Understanding distracted driving statistics underscores the severity of the problem.
- According to AAA, distracted driving causes 1,000 injuries each day in the United States.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Organization reports that 3,142 people were killed because of distracted driving in 2019.
- About 10% of fatal crashes involve distraction.
- Around 17% of injury crashes involve distraction.
- A total of 387,000 people are hurt in crashes that involve texting and other distractions each year.
- Younger drivers are more likely to be involved in distracted driving crashes, but all age groups are at risk.
- Inattentive driving kills pedestrians as well as vehicle occupants.
Many people think that texting and driving is harmless. Unfortunately, they often learn too late when there are serious consequences.
Distracted Driving Resources
Understanding distracted driving and knowing how to avoid it can help. There are several online resources you can visit for issues and concerns, educational materials, and fact sheets on distracted driving:
- National Safety Council. The National Safety Council provides educational materials such as videos, fact sheets, posters, and research papers on distracted driving. Watch videos that answer common questions. The National Safety Council is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to save lives by preventing injuries and deaths through leadership, research, education and advocacy.
- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA encourages employers to ban distracted driving among employees. Driving is a significant part of many kinds of employment. With distracted driving posing a significant risk of harm, employers can do their part by imposing work restrictions that apply to those who drive for a living.
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – U Text, U Drive, U Pay Campaign. The National Highway Traffic Administration U Text, U Drive, U Pay website explains the problem of distracted driving with video and statistics. They aim to impress upon readers the consequences that can occur from texting and other distractions behind the wheel.
- National Conference on State Legislature (NCSL). The NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staff of the 50 U.S. states, its commonwealths, and territories. The NCSL provides research, technical assistance, and information so that policymakers can create laws that are effective and enforceable for pressing issues in our communities, including distracted driving.
- AAA Foundation on Traffic Safety. The AAA Distracted Driving page asks drivers if they are operating while intoxicated. The site provides information about the consequences of distracted driving as well as tips for healthy motor vehicle use.
Lawyers for Utah Distracted Driving Accidents – Accepting New Cases
The Christensen & Hymas legal team is accepting new cases. If you’ve been hurt by a distracted driver, our compassionate and professional lawyers are here to help you pursue compensation and hold wrongdoers accountable. Contact us today for your free consultation to learn about your case and what it might be worth.
Distracted Driving FAQs
Which age group has the highest incidence of distracted driving cases?
Drivers between the ages of 15 to 19 have the highest incidence of distracted driving. Around 11% of fatal crashes were found to be in this age group, and 21% of those involved were distracted by cell phones. However, anyone can be a distracted driver.
Why do people still drive distracted when statistics and reports show that it has fatal consequences?
Most people do not realize the dangers of their actions, thinking that they can manage both driving and other tasks at the same time. Stressful and busy lifestyles lead people to squeeze everything in by multitasking, even when it’s dangerous.
Is using hands-free devices while driving still risky?
Studies have found that using cell phones through a hands-free device takes the same cognitive loads that occur when holding a phone and using it while driving. Talking to somebody on the phone takes some vital focus and attention from driving. Your brain is processing the conversation, and this could prevent you from making wise driving decisions.
My friends and family often call me while I am on the road. What should I do?
Help your friends and family understand that you take your safety and the safety of others very seriously. Provide a voice mail with a recorded message that instructs callers to leave a contact number and message so you can return their calls as soon as you arrive at your destination. Take care of any messaging or calls that you can before you drive.
How does law enforcement determine the involvement of distracted driving when there has been a fatality?
Law enforcement bases their findings on eyewitness accounts if there are any. They can also review dash cams or recordings from nearby buildings. They may look at the cell phone or get cell phone records in order to examine activities leading up to a distracted driving crash.
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