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Utah Driving and Traffic Laws

When driving in Utah, it's important that you know the rules of the road so you can follow them and avoid getting a traffic ticket. This will not only cost you the money you will pay as a fine for breaking the law, but will also cost you in raised automobile insurance rates. If you get too many tickets, you could also lose your Utah drivers license.

Utah Points System

In Utah, most violations of the traffic laws are assigned a specific point value. As you accumulate traffic citations, you also accumulate points. Accumulate too many points, and you can lose your license.

Speeding is the one of the most common ticketed offenses in Utah. If you are caught driving over the speed limit by between 1 and 9 miles per hour, you will accumulate 35 points on your license. If you are caught speeding between 10 and 19 miles per hour over the posted limit, you will accumulate 50 points, and you will get 75 points if you are caught going more than 20 miles per hour over the posted limit. While other traffic offenses also carry a point value, most Utah drivers who get themselves in trouble with points do it because of breaking the speed limit.

If you have more than 200 points on your driving record within any three year period, you will have your license suspended. The state will mail you a notice of suspension, and you can face prison time if you drive after that. This notice will tell you how long your license is suspended and what you need to do to get it back. In addition to losing the license for a period of time, you may have to attend a hearing before you can get your license reinstated.

Note that the threshold for getting your license suspended is 70 points for anyone under the age of 21. This, it's even more important for younger drivers in Utah to drive responsibly.

DUI in Utah

Driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) is never a good idea and, because it is dangerous, drivers caught doing so in Utah will face stiff penalties. To avoid problems in this area, simply refrain from driving if you have consumed alcohol.

If you are pulled over under suspicion of a DUI, you are required to take any test that an officer requests. This can include a blood test, breath test, or a urine test, each of which can be used to determine your blood alcohol count (BAC). Having a Utah drivers license means that you consent to taking one of these tests anytime an officer requests it. If you refuse, you can lose your license automatically.

If, after taking one of the chemical tests listed above, your BAC is found to be over 0.08%, you will be charged with a DUI. However, an officer can also charge you with a DUI if your BAC is over 0.04% and you fail an impairment test. This test usually includes performing simple tasks like walking in a straight line, performing coordinated hand movements, etc., and can be requested by an officer anytime your BAC is over 0.04%.

Penalties for committing a DUI vary based on how high your BAC was and how many similar offenses you have committed. You can lose your license for a period of time between 90 days and 1 year and will probably face jail time, community service hours, stiff fines, probation, and mandatory alcohol education classes. In addition, you can face house arrest, an ignition lock device on your vehicle and, in the worst cases, having your vehicle seized.

Other Utah Traffic Laws

Utah also takes seat belt laws seriously. Children age four and under must ride in an approved safety seat anytime they are in a moving vehicle. In addition, everyone in the vehicle must wear a seat belt if one is available. Drivers are held responsible for anyone under the age of 16 who is not in a seat belt. However, if everyone in a vehicle is over 19 years of age, a driver cannot be ticketed for breaking a seat belt law unless he was stopped for another reason.

The government does not currently prohibit cell phone usage while driving in UT, though they ask drivers to use one only if it is absolutely necessary and to learn how to operate the phone without looking at it. They also ask that drivers keep any necessary calls short and refrain from writing down information while driving.

There are more laws that drivers should know when operating a vehicle in Utah. For information on these, contact the state's Department of Motor Vehicles. If you ever have any questions about what is correct conduct when driving in the state, make sure you find out as soon as possible. That way, you will avoid tickets, license complications, and higher auto insurance rates.

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