Utah’s distracted driving law, section 41-6a-1716, prohibits reading, writing, texting, typing, or accessing the internet with hands while driving on highways. However, the word “highway” has a broader definition than what you may think. Utah law defines “highway” as “any public road, street, alley, lane, court, place, viaduct, tunnel, culvert, bridge, or structure laid out or erected for public use.” Essentially, this means that texting while driving is illegal on public roads.
Under Utah’s statutory definition, private roads, driveways and parking lots are normally not considered as a “highway.” So although you may not be charged for texting while cruising through a parking lot, it is still not a good idea. Just because something is legal does not mean you should do it. It is important to keep your focus on the road at all times, even if the road is privately owned.