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By a single vote, a bill advanced Friday that could erase a law enacted last year to make it easier to enforce a ban on texting while driving.
The House Transportation Committee voted 6-5 Friday to advance HB63 to the full House.
Last year, the Legislature outlawed manipulating a phone while driving after police said many people escaped tickets for texting by claiming they were just dialing a phone.
Rep. Jacob Anderegg, R-Lehi, sponsor of HB63, said his bill would take a step back and again allow dialing while driving. But it would allow police to pull over a car if the driver is holding a phone while weaving or showing other unsafe behavior.
"I do think we went too far last year. I think from a fundamental liberty standpoint, you've got to be able to use your phone while you are driving," Anderegg said, adding lawmakers were creating "a nanny state."
Rep. Carol Moss, D-Holladay, disagreed.
"I reject the notion that you have to be able to use your phone," she said. "I wait until I'm stopped at a light or pull over."
Utah Highway Patrol Capt. Doug McCleve said the bill would again make it more difficult to enforce the texting ban. He said the current law has allowed the Highway Patrol to pull over and cite or warn 1,086 drivers since it took effect last May.
David Strayer, a University of Utah professor who researches distracted driving, said he supports the current law, not the proposed change. "It's enforceable," he said. "It doesn't matter if you are dialing or texting, your eyes are off the road."