Readers React: Should Utah ban cellphone use while driving?

Tuesday , January 30, 2018 - 5:00 AM9 comments

SALT LAKE CITY — Should it be legal to talk on the phone while driving? House Bill 64 in the Utah State Legislature wants to make it that way.

Sponsored by Rep. Carol Spackman Moss, D-Salt Lake City, H.B. 64 would ban all cellphone use while driving with the exception of using hands-free devices. 

If the bill passes and becomes law, Utah would become the 15th state to ban hand-held cellphone use while driving, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

New bill would ban phone calls while driving, unless with hands-free devices

Moss told the Standard-Examiner she was almost in a car crash recently because a pickup truck driver cut her off while talking on the phone.

“Everyone has a story about this,” Moss said. “It’s something that drives people crazy.”

Here’s what you, the readers, had to say when we posed this question to you on Facebook. (All comments are verbatim.)

Mort Wimmer: I'm ok with this law if it applies to everyone. I've witnessed police actually using the laptop they keep next to them while driving on the freeway. Pass the law and make no one exempt.

Jeff Carter: As a truck driver. I would say hands free just like us. Driving up down the freeways I see ridiculous amounts of people doing things such as no blinker changing lanes, sitting at green lights, slowing down and speeding up, etc. Think about it...you have only one hand on the wheel and one on the phone. There is no free hand. I have witnessed accidents as well as almost been hit in my 18 wheeler as well as been put in hazardous situations. Please just think about it people.

Fran Yager Caughlan: Well...since she had a near-miss we should all be punished! To much control being taken from people. Let us use our own minds! That is why we have them. I don't want to be told to do or not to do every little thing.

Rob Ott: If a person holding a cell phone or other device is distracted, they're already eligible for a ticket. There's no need to pass laws to address individual forms of distraction.

Indeed, passing a law like this would just grant the police one more reason to pull you over: suspicion of holding a cell phone. Instead of just handing that over to them, let's give some thought to whether the unintended consequences are worth it.

LuJean Butters Jones: There is a law that says you cannot manipulate your phone (device) while driving...but I see it happening all the time ....In Nevada as you drive into the State, there is a big old sign that says " It is against the law for a DRIVER to be on a cell phone" I would love to see that here..

Debbie Campbell: I’ve had too many near misses with people zoned out while talking on their phones. Phones should be deactivated while driving. Utah drivers are already horrible.

Jason Yeaman: How is talking on the phone any different from talking to someone in the car.

What if you want to talk to yourself or yell at the idiot talk show host on the radio?

Diana Owens Sewell: Only with a Bluetooth and even that is iffy because people don't pay attention

Reach digital producer Jessica Kokesh at 801-625-4229 or jkokesh@standard.net. You can also follow her on Twitter at @JessicaKokesh or Facebook.com/ByJessKokesh.

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