A year ago, Leslee Henson and her husband were struck by a car while walking in St. George an accident caused by a driver who was texting. Her husband was killed instantly and she sustained fractures to her neck and back, plus head trauma that she said led to 5,000 stitches and staples in her skull and separated nerves in her eyes.
She sat in the state Capitol to watch the Utah Senate pass SB253s1, a bill that would tighten laws against using cellphones while driving. The bill passed with a 17-8 vote and now moves to the House.
If passed, the law would forbid not only texting, but activities like emailing, playing games and dialing phone numbers. In its original form, the bill came close to entirely banning the use of hand-held phones while driving but was loosened to accommodate concerns of some lawmakers that the ban was too restrictive. As amended, the bill would allow using GPS for navigation and talking on the phone would still be permitted. While dialing is banned under the bill, drivers would be permitted to access phone numbers using voice-command technology.