Texting and driving still an issue 2 years after distracted driving law enacted

Posted at 7:54 PM, May 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-10 21:54:41-04

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - It’s been two years since Utah’s heightened distracted driving law went into effect. Lawmakers hoped it would curb crashes, but Utah Highway Patrol says it’s still a major problem on roadways.

Under the current law, use of a cellphone for anything other than calling or GPS, is prohibited. Last year, UHP says, they stopped 1,443 drivers for texting behind the wheel, and gave out 491 tickets.

So far in 2016, they’ve pulled over 733 drivers and given out 208 tickets.

“We believe it’s under reported,” said UHP Sgt. Todd Royce. “A lot under reported when it comes to crash reports. We think it happens more than what we see and we think it happens more out on the roads.”

Since 2014, six people have died in crashes where cellphones were a direct cause. Utah Zero Fatalities Campaign spokesman John Gleason said that’s way too many and a change in behavior is needed to stop it.

“Texting while driving is putting lives at risk,” Gleason said. “You’re putting your own life at risk, you’re putting your family and friends’ lives at risk.”

UHP says they’re upping enforcement of the law, particularly going into the summer months.