Remember the day that you got your driver’s license? If you were like most teenagers, you were so excited to take your friends out for a spin that you promptly forgot a few of the driving rules that you had successfully recalled for your written driver’s test. Now that you’ve been driving for a while, it might be a good time to brush up on some of those fundamentals. Whether you’ve been driving for two years or twenty years, it’s easy to forget the intricate rules that make our road systems work. While much of driving becomes second nature after some experience, some Utah drivers have a tendency to forget the following driving laws, meant to keep our roadways safe.

No Phone Use While Driving

With Utah’s recent changes to phone and driving laws, it’s possible that drivers have not forgotten these rules but are simply unaware of them. Learning the rules for phones and driving could not only protect you from getting a ticket, but could prevent you from the fatal risk of driving while using your phone.

The official Utah law states that drivers may not use any electronic device (cell phone, text message device, laptop, or any other substantial communication device) while driving. Exceptions to this law include:

  • using a handheld communication device for voice communication
  • using a GPS or other navigation system during a medical emergency;
  • reporting a safety hazard or requesting assistance relating to a safety hazard;
  • reporting criminal activity or requesting assistance relating to a criminal activity;
  • when the device is used by a law enforcement officer or emergency service personnel for safety purposes
  • operating a hands-free or voice operated technology; or
  • using a system that is physically or electronically integrated into the motor vehicle.

No Open Containers in Vehicle While Driving

An obvious rule about drinking and driving (don’t do it) actually has a more complex rule behind it. No open alcohol containers of any kind are allowed in the driving vehicle—whether it’s in possession of the driver or any passengers, whether it’s in the front or back seat.

An open container is defined by the law as “any container which contains any alcoholic beverage if the container has been opened, its seal broken, or the contents of the container partially consumed.” Failing to obey this law is a class C misdemeanor.

Use Your Blinker

While it seems like a really obvious traffic law, blinkers are frequently neglected by Utah drivers. Turn signals are not only polite, but they are mandatory for safe and lawful driving. Utah law actually prohibits a motor vehicle from turning until after the appropriate turn signal has been given (either hand and arm signal or the traditional motor vehicle blinker).

If your blinkers are not working for any reason, it’s highly important to visit a repair shop immediately to get them fixed.

Registration Card Must Be Signed and Carried

Most people don’t realize they don’t have their registration card until they’re asked to provide it to a police officer while being pulled over. At this point, it’s too late and a ticket is likely to result. Proof of registration, however, is one of the most basic aspects of driving. Whether you need to put it on your calendar or create a reminder in your phone, it’s important that you find the time to keep your vehicle’s registration up to date. Interestingly, Utah law requires that you keep your registration up to date and that the registration card be signed and carried.

If you’re more than a few years past your sixteenth birthday, you’re intuition and experience have likely made you a pretty safe driver. However, those years of experience have probably also caused you to forget some important basic rules of the road. In order to stay safe, you may want to pick up your old Driver’s Education textbook or consider taking an online course to relearn basic traffic laws and to find out what has changed with recent legislation.


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