Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Hang up: New law bars Utah teens from cellphone use while driving
HB103 » Those under 18 caught behind the wheel using cellphone may be fined $25 starting May 14.
First Published Apr 03 2013 04:23 pm • Last Updated Jul 07 2013 11:31 pm

Drivers younger than 18 will be prohibited from talking on their cellphones while they’re behind the wheel, under legislation that Gov. Gary Herbert has signed.

"Teen drivers don’t need anything else to distract them. They have enough on their own, just learning the process," said Rep. Lee Perry, R-Perry, a Utah Highway Patrol trooper and sponsor of HB103.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Perry said he hopes that teen-age drivers who learn not to talk on their phone would continue that habit into adulthood, and there ultimately will be fewer drivers talking on the phone when they drive.

"I’m not throwing the teens under the bus more than anybody else," when it comes to cellphone use, Perry said. "Teens just haven’t had the experience of driving, so this is just one more distraction they don’t need."

The legislation takes effect May 14.

The bill had been sponsored the past several years by then-Sen. Ross Romero, D-Salt Lake City, but failed to pass. Perry’s bill was almost identical — although it would assess a $25 fine for violations instead of a $50 fine — and nearly met the same fate in the Senate.

It was voted down because several supportive senators weren’t on hand for the vote, but it was later revived and passed.

Opponents argued at the time that the bill would be difficult for police to enforce and that it represented excessive government regulation.

Wednesday marked the final day for Herbert to sign bills. All told, Herbert signed 501 bills and vetoed one — HB76, which would have allowed any adult without a criminal record to carry a concealed gun without having to first get a state-issued concealed firearms permit.

Among the final four bills Herbert signed Wednesday was HB391, sponsored by Rep. Jake Anderegg, R-Lehi, which originally would have prevented Utah from expanding Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act.


story continues below
story continues below

Under the provisions of the act, also known as Obamacare, the federal government would pay all the cost in the first three years to cover an estimated 130,000 low-income Utahns, with the state picking up more of the tab over time, up to 10 percent in 2021 and beyond.

Anderegg argued the program was unaffordable and sought to block the expansion. But the bill was watered down, requiring reports to the Legislature on the costs and benefits of expansion and other elements of the plan.

The governor also signed HB155, sponsored by Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, which will prohibit certain federal employees — specifically Bureau of Land Management officers or those Forest Service officers who are not trained law enforcement — from enforcing Utah laws.

If they do, those federal employees could be charged with impersonating a peace officer, a class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Herbert also signed SB86, sponsored by Sen. John Valentine, R-Orem, creating an ethics commission to police the conduct of the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, auditor and treasurer.

The absence of such a commission came to light amid allegations that Attorney General John Swallow may have acted unethically in helping St. George businessman Jeremy Johnson during an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission.

The ethics commission, modeled after a similar panel created for the Legislature, would not be retroactive.



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
Videos
Jobs
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
  • Login to the Electronic 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.