OGDEN -- Ogden area drivers see the merit in cellphone restrictions to make the road a safer place, though they have mixed feelings on how far those restrictions should go.
Jeff Rechtzigel drives a truck between Minnesota and California and nine times out of 10, his fellow drivers who are on cellphones are not paying attention to the road, he said.
"You see it virtually every day," Rechtzigel said. He noticed the effect cellphones have on his own driving, and ever since he switched to a hands-free headset, he's seen the improvement in his ability to stay focused on the road.
The National Transportation Safety Board has noticed, too, and recommended lastlast week a complete nationwide ban on cellphone use while driving. The board's unanimous recommendation makes an exception for emergencies.
Utah is already one of 35 states that outlaws texting while driving, and the addition of talking on a cellphone to that restriction would make it the 10th such state to have such a ban. But the recommended ban would also include hands-free devices, unprecedented in all 50 states.
Rechtzigel, who stopped at a gas station in Ogden this week, is of two minds when it comes to banning cellphones. On the one hand it might make the road a safer place, but it's also an authority stepping in and taking more control over people's lives, he said.
If drivers are not fiddling with a phone, they might get distracted by the radio, he said.
Dusty Deitrich, 26, thinks "it would be ridiculous" if the ban extends to the use of hands-free device.
It would be like telling drivers they cannot talk to someone who is in the car with them, he said.
The NTSB cannot impose restrictions, but its recommendation carries significant weight with federal regulators and congressional and state lawmakers.
The Utah Highway Patrol has no official stance on the recommendation, but Lt. Lee Perry -- who also represents part of Box Elder County in the Utah Legislature -- figures that any distraction is a danger.
But enforcement against hands-free devices sounds like an aspect that would be "very difficult" for police to go after, he said.
"In one way, we already have a great law right now in the sense that we have a (state) law on the books on careless driving," he said.
Perry recalls spotting a driver who he thought was texting but in fact was looking up a contact on his cellphone. Once that driver was drifting out of his travel lane, the lieutenant pulled him over.
Any driver who is distracted by a cellphone or any technology in the car and drifting around the road can be cited. With the exception of texting, which is already against the law, the state statute gives leeway to the drivers who can handle themselves on the road safely while talking on the phone.
Ban or no ban, some people -- like Susan Nye of Marriott-Slaterville -- do not and are not going to use their phones anyway so that they can drive safely.
"If mine's ringing" then it can just ring, Nye said.