Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Tribune file photo) Despite concerns that it could lead to a cellphone ban for all drivers, a House committee has unanimously endorsed a bill to prohibit their use by motorists younger than 18 years old — for texting or calls, even with hands-free devices.
House votes to ban cell phone use by teen drivers
Highway safety » After the vote, bill moves to Senate.
First Published Feb 25 2013 03:21 pm • Last Updated Feb 21 2014 02:42 pm

Making a call that teenagers may not want to hear, the House voted Monday to ban motorists younger than 18 from using cell phones while driving — although adults could continue to do so legally.

Rep. Francis Gibson, R-Mapleton, suggested that lawmakers call it the "Do as I say, not do what I do" bill.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The House voted 48-22 to pass HB103, and sent it to the Senate.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Lee Perry, R-Perry, a Highway Patrol officer, said it is akin to other restrictions placed on young drivers going through graduated license procedures — including, for a time, not allowing passengers in their car besides parents, and not permitting driving between midnight and 5 a.m.

"It gives us an ability to teach our young people, who are learning how to drive, the very best practices," Perry said. He added that teens account for 8 percent of Utah’s licensed drivers, but they are involved in 21 percent of accidents.

He said it is intended only as an educational bill, and originally proposed a fine of only $50 for violations. But Rep. Johnny Anderson, R-Taylorsville, amended that to just a $25 fine. "I want the education to be a little less expensive," he said.

In response to Gibson’s complaint that lawmakers are trying to get teens to do what too many adults will not do, Perry said he hopes it encourages all drivers to quit using cell phones — and said polls show that 93 percent of Utah drivers realize it increases danger.

The bill will ban even the use of hands-free cell phones by young drivers. Perry noted that cell-phone studies at the University of Utah have shown that drivers who talk on handheld or hands-free cell phones are just as impaired as drunk drivers.

In earlier committee action, the bill had passed even though several members worried it infringed too much on personal liberty — and could create a "slippery slope" toward banning cell phone use for all drivers. Neither objection was voiced during debate Monday by the full House.

Similar bills to ban cell phone use by teens have failed for the past three years.

story continues below
story continues below

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

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.