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August 21, 2012

Driver License Emergency Contact Database

caraccident.jpgThe Utah legislature passed HB21 this year which created a database that allows any Utah driver license, learners permit, or identification card holder to register with the Driver License Emergency Contact Database. The law, enacted as Utah Code §53-3-205.6, became effective on July 1, 2012, and allows a law enforcement agent to notify emergency contacts in the event of a car accident or other emergency in which a person becomes unconscious or unable to communicate.

If you are interested in signing up for this service, you will be asked to provide your last name, driver license number and issue date, and the last four digits of your social security number.

May 08, 2012

New Laws Effective May 8, 2012

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Hundreds of the state laws passed during the 2012 General Session go into effect May 8th. Legislative rule JR4-1-203 provides that a bill becomes law 60 days after the adjournment of the legislative session, unless otherwise provided. Here is just a small sample:

  • HB 13 Offender registry review
  • HB 33 Fireworks amendments
  • HB 88 Custody amendments
  • HB 316 Divorce waiting period amendments
  • HB 448 Custody modifications
  • HB 461 Abortion waiting period
  • SB 55 Amendments to adoption code
  • SB 173 Utah fit premises modifications
  • SB 201 Expungement amendments

You can read all the new laws, and read laws passed since 1998, at the Utah State Legislature's Passed Bills page. Select a legislative year from the drop down menu to see a list of bills passed that year.

March 30, 2012

New Utah Transit Authority Ordinance

Railroad_Crossing.jpgUTA recently enacted an ordinance which prohibits crossing a railroad grade crossing while distracted. The examples of distraction listed in the ordinance include talking on a cell phone, texting, having earphones or earbuds in both ears, "attending to personal hygiene or grooming," or reading.

The penalty for this offense is a $50 civil fine; repeat offenses carry a $100 fine.

The new ordinance is Chapter 5.14, Section 1M. Curious about what other things you can be ticketed for? You can find the full Ordinance Manual on the UTA website.

Photo by Darren Hester, used under a Creative Commons license

March 29, 2012

Texting While Driving

texting.jpgAnyone who has travles Utah's roads may have noticed that not all Utah drivers know it is illegal to text while driving. Since 2009, Utah Code Ann. §41-6a-1716 has made it a Class B or C misdemeanor to use a handheld device to text or email while operating a moving motor vehicle.

In January 2012, 18-year-old Utah State University student Taylor Sauer died when she crashed into a truck in Idaho. News reports indicate that she was texting while driving, and posted a Facebook status update right before the crash which said, "I can't discuss this matter now. Driving and Facebooking is not safe. ha ha." Her parents have been working to get texting and driving banned in Idaho.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's distraction.gov website reports that in 2010 more than 3,000 people were killed by distracted drivers, and that you are 23 times more likely to crash if you drive while distracted.

State and national organizations offer information-packed websites encouraging drivers not to text whill driving.

Be smart. Be safe. Obey the law. Don't text while driving.

March 22, 2012

Salt Lake City's Idle Free Ordinance

RitaHoustonEvacuation.jpgThe Salt Lake City Council recently enacted an ordinance that prohibits unnecessary vehicle idling over two minutes within City limits.

The ordinance (12.58.010 et seq.) provides for some exceptions to the two minute idling limit, including if you are stopped at an official traffic control device or signal, if you are stopped at the direction of a police officer, to operate heaters or air conditioners when the temperature is below 32° or above 90° in certain circumstances, or to operate defrosters or other equipment to clear the windshield and windows.

Businesses with drive-through windows have additional responsibilities, but can be exempted from enforcement if they post city-approved idle free signs. Businesses can order signs from the City for $20.