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Stats show increase in car crashes since new cell phone law took effect

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Posted at 6:26 PM, Jun 17, 2014
and last updated 2014-06-17 20:26:08-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah's new cell phone law tightens restrictions for drivers. But since the law has gone into effect the total numbers of crashes are up.

Last year during the month of May there were 1,164 accidents, according to statistics from Utah Highway Patrol.

This year during the same time that number rose by 33.

Out of those accidents in 2013, 10 were related cell phone use. This year that number is also up hitting a total of 15 accidents where the driver was distracted by a cell phone.

But Utah Highway Patrol says the real number may be higher.

"A lot of people when people are involved in a rear end crash in the Salt Lake valley somewhere and we ask them, ‘were you on your cell phone?’ They’re going to flat out say no,” said Sgt. Todd Royce with UHP.

Troopers say they're noticing a lot of people are still not clear on what the law entails but soon they will start giving out fewer warnings and more citations.