Utah law limiting cell phone use while driving takes effect May 13

Posted at 6:21 PM, May 07, 2014
and last updated 2014-05-08 09:33:20-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- A new cell phone law goes into effect next week, and there’s a lot of confusion about what you can and can’t do in your car.

Troopers said it is difficult to enforce cell phone laws as they are now, but when the new law goes into effect next Tuesday that's expected to change.

“This one makes it easier because any type of manipulation of a cell phone or electronic device gives us cause to stop that person and hopefully try to educate them,” said Utah State Trooper Lt. Jeff Nigbur.

There are several misconceptions about what you can can't do while driving, and now if you don't already have a hands-free device it might be time to get one. The law actually states that you can talk on your phone, but you can’t manipulate it.

"I would feel comfortable in saying that people can pick up their phone, hit the answer button and begin to talk on their phone, however, and we see it quiet often on the freeway as state troopers, people are really typing and dialing numbers and those types of things and that's what's causing crashes," Nigbur said.

You can still use your phone’s GPS navigation any time, and you can manipulate your phone in an emergency.

Troopers plan to do a blitz next week in Davis, Salt Lake, and Utah counties to educate people about the new law, but it won't be long before they start giving out $100 tickets. They said the best advice is just to stay off your phone until you get where you're going.