! The Capitol Complex is closed to the public due to COVID-19. All meetings will be held virtually online. View procedures and guidelines (PDF) for remote public comment and virtual meeting instructions (PDF).

First Substitute S.B. 253

Senator Stephen H. Urquhart proposes the following substitute bill:




Chief Sponsor: Stephen H. Urquhart

House Sponsor: Don L. Ipson

             7      LONG TITLE
             8      General Description:
             9          This bill modifies the Traffic Code by amending handheld wireless communication
             10      device provisions.
             11      Highlighted Provisions:
             12          This bill:
             13          .    amends and repeals definitions;
             14          .    amends the list of activities taking place within a vehicle during a moving traffic
             15      violation that constitute careless driving;
             16          .    amends the devices that are included as examples of a handheld wireless
             17      communication device;
             18          .    amends the exceptions to the prohibition on using a handheld wireless
             19      communication device; and
             20          .    makes technical corrections.
             21      Money Appropriated in this Bill:
             22          None
             23      Other Special Clauses:
             24          None
             25      Utah Code Sections Affected:

             26      AMENDS:
             27           41-6a-1715 , as last amended by Laws of Utah 2010, Chapter 157
             28           41-6a-1716 , as last amended by Laws of Utah 2012, Chapter 193
             30      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             31          Section 1. Section 41-6a-1715 is amended to read:
             32           41-6a-1715. Careless driving defined and prohibited.
             33          (1) A person operating a motor vehicle is guilty of careless driving if the person:
             34          (a) commits two or more moving traffic violations under this chapter in a series of acts
             35      within a single continuous period of driving covering three miles or less in total distance; or
             36          (b) commits a moving traffic violation under this chapter other than a moving traffic
             37      violation under Part 6, Speed Restrictions, while being distracted by one or more activities
             38      taking place within the vehicle that are not related to the operation of a motor vehicle,
             39      including:
             40          [(i) using a wireless telephone or other electronic device unless the person is using
             41      hands-free talking and listening features while operating the motor vehicle;]
             42          [(ii)] (i) searching for an item in the vehicle; or
             43          [(iii)] (ii) attending to personal hygiene or grooming.
             44          (2) A violation of this section is a class C misdemeanor.
             45          (3) In addition to the penalty provided under this section or any other section, a judge
             46      may order the revocation of the convicted person's driver license if the violation causes or
             47      results in the death of another person in accordance with Subsection 53-3-218 (6).
             48          Section 2. Section 41-6a-1716 is amended to read:
             49           41-6a-1716. Prohibition on using a handheld wireless communication device
             50      while operating a moving motor vehicle -- Exceptions -- Penalties.
             51          (1) As used in this section:
             52          (a) [(i)] "Handheld wireless communication device" means a handheld device used for
             53      the transfer of information without the use of electrical conductors or wires.
             54          [(ii)] (b) "Handheld wireless communication device" includes a:
             55          [(A)] (i) wireless telephone;
             56          [(B) personal digital assistant;]

             57          [(C) pager; or]
             58          [(D)] (ii) text messaging device[.];
             59          [(b) (i) "Text message" means to manually communicate in the form of electronic text
             60      or one or more electronic images sent by the actor from a handheld wireless communication
             61      device to another person's handheld wireless communication device or computer by addressing
             62      the communication to the person's telephone number.]
             63          [(ii) "Text message" includes manually composing a communication in the form of
             64      electronic text or an electronic image by the actor even if the electronic text or image has not
             65      been sent to another person.]
             66          (iii) laptop; or
             67          (iv) any substantially similar communications device that is readily removable from the
             68      vehicle and is used to write, send, or read text or data through manual input.
             69          (2) Except as provided in Subsection (3), a person may not use a handheld wireless
             70      communication device while operating a moving motor vehicle on a highway in this state to
             71      manually:
             72          (a) write, send, or read a written communication, including;
             73          [(a)] (i) a text message;
             74          [(b) manually communicate through an electronic mail system;]
             75          [(c) manually enter data into a handheld wireless communication device;]
             76          [(d) send data, read text, or view images on a handheld wireless communication
             77      device; or]
             78          [(e) manipulate an application from]
             79          (ii) an instant message; or
             80          (iii) electronic mail;
             81          (b) dial a phone number;
             82          (c) access the Internet;
             83          (d) view or record video; or
             84          (e) enter data into a handheld wireless communication device.
             85          (3) Subsection (2) does not prohibit a person from using a handheld wireless
             86      communication device while operating a moving motor vehicle:
             87          [(a) when making or receiving a telephone call;]

             88          [(b) when using a handheld wireless communication device for global positioning or
             89      navigation services;]
             90          (a) when using a handheld communication device for voice communication;
             91          (b) to view a global positioning or navigation device or application;
             92          (c) during a medical emergency;
             93          (d) when reporting a safety hazard or requesting assistance relating to a safety hazard;
             94          (e) when reporting criminal activity or requesting assistance relating to a criminal
             95      activity;
             96          [(f) when providing roadside or medical assistance;]
             97          [(g)] (f) when used by a law enforcement officer or emergency service personnel acting
             98      within the course and scope of the law enforcement officer's or emergency service personnel's
             99      employment; or
             100          [(h)] (g) to operate:
             101          (i) hands-free or voice operated technology; or
             102          (ii) a system that is physically or electronically integrated into the motor vehicle.
             103          (4) A person convicted of a violation of this section is guilty of a:
             104          (a) class C misdemeanor with a maximum fine of $100; or
             105          (b) class B misdemeanor if the person:
             106          (i) has also inflicted serious bodily injury upon another as a proximate result of using a
             107      handheld wireless communication device for text messaging or electronic mail communication
             108      while operating a moving motor vehicle on a highway in this state; or
             109          (ii) has a prior conviction under this section, that is within three years of:
             110          (A) the current conviction under this section; or
             111          (B) the commission of the offense upon which the current conviction is based.

[Bill Documents][Bills Directory]