Utah's New Driving Laws
The Utah legislature, in session for six weeks between mid-January and mid-March, has passed a number of new motoring laws. The new laws go into effect July 1, 1998 (unless otherwise noted). California's and Nevada's new laws are also available.
A complete listing of Utah codes are available from the Utah State Legislature. Here are some highlights:
Driving under the influence
- House Bill (HB)0010 provides that a court can have those convicted of a DUI abide by a new zero tolerance, conditional license law. People convicted of a DUI are subject to penalties and license suspension. After the suspension, the driver may be issued a conditional license requiring that the driver maintain a zero percent blood alcohol level for two years. After two years of complying with the conditional license, the driver can get a standard license. Stevens, R-Davis County.
- HB0071 increases the fee for a driver’s license reinstatement after a DUI from $100 to $150. Bush, R-Davis County.
- HB0123 known as the "Not a Drop" law, requires that if a person under age 21 is found driving with any detectable blood alcohol, his or her license will automatically be suspended for 90 days. Upon a second conviction within three years, the driver’s license will be suspended for a year. Also, certain DUI violations now include an assessment for a substance abuse program. Bush.
- Senate Bill (SB)0063 makes serious bodily injury or death caused by a motorist driving under the influence a third-degree felony. Howell, D-Salt Lake County.
- HB0244frees police officers from the requirement to seize a vehicle’s license plates when making a DUI arrest. Buckner, D-Salt Lake County.
- HB0132 prohibits certain insurance rate increases including increases when the person named in the policy or any person using the vehicle with permission is not at fault in an accident. Beck, D-Salt Lake County.
- HB0147 provides that a minor’s application for a temporary learner’s permit, practice permit, or provisional license must be signed by a parent or guardian. If the minor does not have a parent or guardian, a responsible adult can sign and is therefore responsible for damages. Swallow, R-Salt Lake County.
- SB0006 establishes an Uninsured Motorist Identification Database to assist in reducing the number of uninsured vehicles on the highways. It also amends and changes uninsured motorist laws. A person who operates a vehicle or allows it to be operated without insurance, or a person operating a vehicle who knows that the owner of the vehicle does not have insurance, is guilty of a class B misdemeanor. The fine will be no less than $600. Steele, R-Davis County.
- HB0410 creates a Legislative Traffic Safety Task Force with members representing the legislative bodies and traffic safety experts throughout Utah. Arent, D-Salt Lake County.
- HB0259 provides that to obtain or renew vehicle registration, owners must ensure that their cars have passed a safety inspection within two months before their registration renewal. Allen, R-Salt Lake County.
- HB00014allows, as of January 1, 1999, vehicles less than five years old to undergo safety inspections every other year. Older vehicles will still need inspections every year. The inspection fee is increased from $1 to $1.50. Harper, R-Salt Lake County.
- SB0020doubles fines for speeding in a construction zone when workers are present. Buhler, R-Salt Lake County.
- SB0106prohibits parking within 20 feet of any crosswalk. Buhler.
- SB0050 changes annual vehicle fees so they are based on the vehicle’s age and weight. It readjusts fee calculation so that the cost for newer vehicles is lower than in the past, but the cost for older vehicles is higher. Mantes, D-Tooele County.
- SB0100prohibits radar jamming devices that scramble radar signals. (These are different from radar detectors.) Hull, D-Weber County.
- SB0161 makes it a deceptive trade practice to begin a motor vehicle repair without disclosing the estimated cost of repair and the insurance deductible a consumer is required to pay. Howell, D-Salt Lake County.
This article was first published in July 1998. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.