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What is Utah Law on Cell Phone Use in Vehicles

Posted by George Tait | Jul 08, 2022 | 0 Comments

Many states across America restrict the use of cell phones and every state has different laws.  In this blog we will explore and explain the lawful use of cell phones in Utah.

Utah Code on Cell Phone Use

In Utah, the law governing the use of cell phones is contained in the Utah code under 41-6a-1716:  Prohibition on using a wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle -- Exceptions -- Penalties

The most important sections are as follows:


Except as provided in Subsection 3 below, an individual may not use a wireless communication device while operating a moving motor vehicle on a highway in this state to manually:



write or send a written communication, including:


a text message;


an instant message; or


electronic mail;



dial a phone number;


access the internet;


record video;


take a photograph; or


enter data into a wireless communication device;



read a written communication, including:


a text message;


an instant message; or


electronic mail; or



view a video or photograph.



Subsection 2 above, does not prohibit an individual from using a wireless communication device while operating a moving motor vehicle:


when using a wireless communication device for voice communication;


to view a global positioning or navigation device or a global positioning or navigation application;


during a medical emergency;


when reporting a safety hazard or requesting assistance relating to a safety hazard;


when reporting criminal activity or requesting assistance relating to a criminal activity;


when used by a law enforcement officer or emergency service personnel acting within the course and scope of the law enforcement officer's or emergency service personnel's employment; or


to operate:


hands-free or voice operated technology; or


a system that is physically or electronically integrated into the motor vehicle.


The Bottom Line on Cell Phone Use in Utah

Essentially, you can talk on your phone, but only if it is an incoming call and you are hands free.  You can also use a navigation system but the destination must be programed in before driving or used hands free.  You cannot do anything else unless in an emergency.


In every motor vehicle case we handle we get the cell phone records as soon as possible.  It is simply staggering to me the number of times people swear they were not using their cell phones at the time of the crash but, in fact, the evidence says otherwise.

Even if the offender is not using her or his cell phone at the exact time of the crash, the records will often show them initiating calls or texting.  This shows to the jury that the driver was distracted and otherwise not paying attention.

Word to the Wise

Don't cause a crash while using your cell phone.  We attorneys will investigate and find out.  Surveys suggest that most citizens want to be able to use their cell phones but in cases where the cell phone use causes distracted driving, juries can be harsh in assigning blame for the crash.

Cell Phone and Driving Statistics

The Zebra (an insurance marketplace) states the following statistics and is an excellent article.

  1. Cell phone usage reduces a driver's attention by as much as 37%.
  2. In 2015, 42% of high school students admitted that they text or email while driving.
  3. In 2015, 391,000 people were injured due to distracted driving
  4. In 2018, 400,000 people were injured and 2,800 people died in distracted driving motor vehicle accidents. 
  5. Approximately 660,000 drivers are attempting to use their phones while driving.
  6. 14% of fatal crashes involve cell phones.
  7. Using a phone while driving causes 1.6 million crashes every year.
  8. Drivers who text while operating a vehicle are 23 times more likely to become involved in a car accident.
  9. The chances of an accident occurring once a driver's eyes are taken off the road increase by a staggering 400%.
  10. More than 3,000 teens die each year in crashes that involve texting and driving.

George Tait Law practices personal injury litigation in the State of Utah.  If you need help contact us for a no-obligation consultation.  We will tell you your options and even whether you need an attorney's help.  Don't let the insurance companies abuse you—they have attorneys working for them—shouldn't you have an attorney working with you? 

About the Author

George Tait

Since 2004 George Tait has dedicated his practice to helping injured people and their families get fair and full compensation from the insurance companies. Before becoming an attorney George Tait was a Registered Nurse for over 15 years. The last years of his nursing career were in the Universit...


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