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Bill would outlaw manipulating cellphone while driving

By Peter Samore | Posted - Feb 27th, 2014 @ 9:20am



SALT LAKE CITY — Manipulating a cellphone while driving can be dangerous, so St. George Sen. Steve Urquhart wants to punish more than just texting behind the wheel.

He said sometimes drivers will tell police they were not texting. Urquhart wants to eliminate the excuses.

“If police see you manipulating the keypads of the devices, then it will no longer be a defense to say, ‘I was dialing a number, or I was putting in an address,’ ” he said.

Fines could range up to $100. Urquhart said SB253 would give police and troopers easier means to keep the roads safe.

“Prevention is the main thing. Let’s beef up the law to make sure that it deals with any and all manipulation of a device,” he said.

The proposal does not cover talking with the cellphone next to the face, but it does mandate using voice commands to dial the numbers.

Urquhart’s impetus for the bill was a recent fatal accident in St. George.

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