Utah Department of Public Safety

Highway Patrol - Traffic Laws

Traffic Laws


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What does Utah law require regarding the wearing of safety belts and the use of child safety seats?

Utah law requires the following:

  • The driver and all passengers must use a seat belt, if one is available.
  • Children from birth through four years of age must be properly restrained in an approved car safety seat.
  • A driver may be stopped and cited if anyone under 19 years of age is unrestrained.
  • A driver is responsible for unrestrained occupants in the vehicle that are under the age of 16.
  • When a vehicle is occupied solely by people 19 years of age and older, they may not be stopped and cited for a safety belt violation unless the vehicle operator has been stopped for another law violation.

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Do motorcycle riders have to wear a helmet in Utah?

A person under the age of 18 may not operate or ride on a motorcycle or motor-driven cycle on the highways of this state unless the person is wearing an approved helmet.


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Can people legally ride in the bed of a pickup truck?

Utah law does not prohibit people from riding in the bed of a pickup truck. However, since occupant restraints are not available in that location, it isn't a good idea. It's much better if people ride inside the cab of the truck and use safety belts. If someone must ride in the bed of a truck, they should be seated on the bed of the truck and as close to the cab as possible.  Never permit anyone to sit on the sides of a truck bed or on an open tailgate.


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Does Utah law permit people to ride inside a 5th wheel RV trailer while it is being towed on the highway?

No. Unfortunately, Utah law does not distinguish between 5th wheel trailers and other types of trailers.


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Is it legal for me to use a cellular phone while driving in Utah?

Currently, Utah law does not prohibit the use of a wireless telephone while operating a motor vehicle. However, the UHP recommends common sense in the use of these devices. You are urged to follow these guidelines:

  • If possible, dial the phone when the vehicle is not in motion, such as at a traffic light or stop sign.
  • If you use a wireless phone a lot while driving, consider getting a hands-free device.
  • Learn to operate the phone without looking at it.
  • Never allow a phone conversation to distract you in your driving.
  • Keep calls brief.
  • While talking, keep your head up and your eyes on the road. Frequently check your mirrors.
  • Don't try to take notes or look up phone numbers while driving.
  • If you must look up information, find a safe and legal place to stop, and do your research while the car is not in motion. If you are on the freeway, don't stop in the emergency lane to do this; instead, exit the freeway and find a safe place to stop on a surface street.

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Is it legal to drive a vehicle in Utah without shoes on?

Utah law does not require that shoes be worn while operating a motor vehicle. However, common sense should prevail and shoes should be worn. It is much easier and safer to operate a vehicle while wearing shoes.


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How soon after moving to Utah does a person need to get a Utah driver license and Utah registration on their vehicles?

If a person has moved to Utah for the purpose of establishing residency or has been employed in Utah for over 60 days on a permanent assignment or has lived in the state for 60 days or more, then you need to get a Utah driver license.

Utah law requires you to register your vehicle in Utah within 60 days if you:

  • have established a permanent home for yourself and your family in this state;
  • live in Utah, continuously or non-continuously, for a total of six months, regardless of whether you have a permanent residence in another state;
  • engage in a trade, profession, or occupation in Utah, or accept other than seasonal work in the state and do not commute into the state;
  • declare yourself a resident of Utah to obtain privileges not ordinarily extended to nonresidents, including going to school, enrolling your children in local schools without paying nonresident tuition or fees;
  • claim a primary residential property tax exemption on a home located in Utah;
  • or obtain a Utah driver license.

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Can a person under the age of 16, that has a learner's permit from their home state, legally drive in Utah?

No. Utah law prohibits anyone under the age of 16, whether resident or nonresident, from operating a motor vehicle on the highways of this state.


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I bought a used car recently and need to have the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) inspected before I can get it registered. How can I get a VIN inspection?

All peace officers, designated officers and employees of the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV), and official safety inspection certified inspectors are qualified by law to conduct VIN inspections. The easiest way to get a vehicle's VIN inspected is to have it done at the same time as the safety inspection.

[Last Update - Thursday, 19-Dec-2013 12:24:02 MST]