Chief Sponsor: Carol Spackman Moss

Senate Sponsor: Don L. Ipson


8     Committee Note:
9          The Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Interim Committee recommended this bill.
10     General Description:
11          This bill amends provisions related to the use of a handheld wireless communication
12     device while operating a motor vehicle.
13     Highlighted Provisions:                              
14          This bill:
15          ▸     defines terms related to the operation of handheld wireless communication devices;
16          ▸     prohibits certain uses of a handheld wireless communication device while operating
17     a motor vehicle on a roadway;
18          ▸     provides limited exceptions to the prohibition on the use of a handheld wireless
19     communication device while operating a motor vehicle on a roadway; and
20          ▸     makes technical changes.
21     Money Appropriated in this Bill:
22          None
23     Other Special Clauses:
24          None
25     Utah Code Sections Affected:
26     AMENDS:
27          41-6a-1716, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2014, Chapter 416


29     Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
30          Section 1. Section 41-6a-1716 is amended to read:
31          41-6a-1716. Prohibition on using a handheld wireless communication device
32     while operating a moving motor vehicle -- Exceptions -- Penalties.
33          (1) As used in this section:
34          (a) (i) "Handheld wireless communication device" means a handheld device used for
35     the transfer of information without the use of electrical conductors or wires.
36          [(b)] (ii) "Handheld wireless communication device" includes [a]:          
37          [(i)] (A) a wireless telephone;
38          [(ii)] (B) a text messaging device;
39          [(iii)] (C) a laptop; or
40          [(iv)] (D) any substantially similar communication device that is readily removable
41     from the vehicle and is used to write, send, or read text or data through manual input.
42          (b) "Hands-free operation" means the use of a handheld wireless communication
43     device without manual manipulation.
44          (c) (i) "Manual manipulation" means the use of a hand to hold or operate a handheld
45     wireless communication device.
46          (ii) "Manual manipulation" does not include the use of a hand to activate or deactivate
47     a feature or function of the handheld wireless communication device if:
48          (A) the manipulation is a single swipe or tap of a finger; and
49          (B) the handheld wireless communication device is mounted on the vehicle's
50     windshield, dashboard, or center console in a manner that does not hinder the operator's view
51     of the road.
52          (2) Except as provided in Subsection (3), [a person] an individual may not hold or use
53     a handheld wireless communication device while operating a moving motor vehicle on a
54     [highway] roadway in this state [to manually:].
55          [(a) write, send, or read a written communication, including:]
56          [(i) a text message;]
57          [(ii) an instant message; or]
58          [(iii) electronic mail;]

59          [(b) dial a phone number;]
60          [(c) access the Internet;]
61          [(d) view or record video; or]
62          [(e) enter data into a handheld wireless communication device.]
63          (3) (a) Subsection (2) does not prohibit [a person] an individual from:
64          (i) hands-free operation of a wireless communication device while operating a motor
65     vehicle on a roadway; or
66          (ii) using a handheld wireless communication device while operating a [moving] motor
67     vehicle on a roadway:
68          [(a) when using a handheld communication device for voice communication;]
69          [(b) to view a global positioning or navigation device or a global positioning or
70     navigation application;]
71          (A) if the motor vehicle is parked on the roadway in a manner allowed under this
72     chapter;
73          [(c)] (B) during a medical emergency;
74          [(d)] (C) when reporting a safety hazard or requesting assistance relating to a safety
75     hazard;
76          [(e)] (D) when reporting criminal activity or requesting assistance relating to a criminal
77     activity; or
78          [(f)] (E) when used by a law enforcement officer or emergency service personnel acting
79     within the course and scope of the law enforcement officer's or emergency service personnel's
80     employment[; or].
81          [(g) to operate:]
82          [(i) hands-free or voice operated technology; or]
83          [(ii) a system that is physically or electronically integrated into the motor vehicle.]
84          (b) Except as allowed under Subsection (3)(a)(ii), an individual may not use a handheld
85     wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle on a roadway to:
86          (i) read a written communication, including:
87          (A) a text message;
88          (B) an instant message; or
89          (C) electronic mail; or

90          (ii) view or record video.
91          (4) A person convicted of a violation of this section is guilty of a:
92          (a) class C misdemeanor [with a maximum fine of $100]; or
93          (b) class B misdemeanor if the person:
94          (i) has also inflicted serious bodily injury upon another as a proximate result of using a
95     handheld wireless communication device in violation of this section while operating a moving
96     motor vehicle on a highway in this state; or
97          (ii) has a prior conviction under this section, that is within three years of:
98          (A) the current conviction under this section; or
99          (B) the commission of the offense upon which the current conviction is based.