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State lawmaker brings back bill to ban cellphone use while driving

SALT LAKE CITY – It’s back… almost. Utah lawmakers are haggling over a proposed bill to ban hand-held devices while driving, except in emergencies.

The bill has failed before in the 2018 Utah legislative session.

“But I literally have heard from hundreds of people: ‘You’ve got to do something about people driving and holding their phones up, and trying to steer with one hand,” said state Rep. Carol Spackman Moss (D-Holladay).

Moss says her revised hands-free bill would allow for phone use for GPS, reporting hazards and crime, or medical emergencies.

State Sen. Daniel Thatcher (R-West Valley City) says the bill adds needless criminalization.

“I see people every single day that are capable of using a phone while operating a motor vehicle without committing a moving violation,” he said.

Other lawmakers proposed boosting the $100-fine for manipulating a phone while driving.

Moss points to other states with tougher laws and says she’ll be bringing her bill back to committee.