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Utah’s new law forbids dialing while driving
Begins Tuesday » The rule aims to make the texting ban more enforceable but still allows talking on the phone.

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Hands-free devices » It is also increasing sales of hands-free cellphone devices to help comply with the new law.

At a glance

Toughening Utah’s ban on texting while driving

A law taking effect Tuesday will BAN:

» Manipulating a cellphone or portable electronic device by hand while driving, including texting, dialing a phone number or changing music.

It will still ALLOW:

» Talking on a hand-held cellphone.

» Manipulating a device if a car is not moving, such as at a stoplight.

» Using GPS on an electronic device for directions.

» Manipulating in-dash electronics.

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"The demand is huge right now," says Cedric Reeves, special sales manager for connection devices at the South Salt Lake Best Buy. The store even has a big sign at the front door warning customers about the new law, with an adjacent display of hands-free Bluetooth earphones and mics for phones.

"We have a lot of people coming in looking for solutions right now," including installing either new stereo decks or devices to help factory-installed radio systems connect via wireless Bluetooth frequencies to cellphones.

"That helps with the complaint, ‘I can’t even change the music on the phone anymore without getting pulled over.’ Hook it up to a Bluetooth to your car deck, and you’re good to go," Reeves says.

"They even come with a little mic."

The imminent change in law prompted him to buy a Bluetooth device, he adds, mostly for the music on his smartphone.

"I didn’t think it would make that much difference, just looking down for a second to change a tune," he says. "But since I bought mine, I notice that it does make a difference, and it makes driving easier."

Urquhart was urged to push the bill by Leslee Henson. Last year, she and her husband were struck while walking in St. George in a multi-car accident caused by a driver who was texting.

Her husband was killed. Leslee suffered fractures to her neck and back, plus head trauma that led to 5,000 stitches and staples in her skull and separated nerves in her eyes. She has spent the past year fighting texting while driving.

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"The texting law now is just too vague. It’s too hard to enforce," she told lawmakers earlier this year.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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