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The Utah House should table HB95

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This last week a Utah House panel approved a bill introduced by Rep. Lee Perry (R) which would modify the definition of careless driving. The bill would make fatigued driving or driving while ill a class C misdemeanor. The bill now moves to the House for consideration. In my opinion, Lee a Utah Highway Patrol lieutenant has it wrong on this one. He says fatigued drivers can already be sited with reckless driving, but the problem with this is that a judge can overturn the citation. Lee says the fatigued and illness provisions of his bill would allow him to site a driver asleep at the wheel. But by his own admission he already can issue a reckless driving citation to a driver asleep at the wheel. How fatigue and illness affects a driver would only be an opinion and Rep. David Butterfield (R) had it right when he asked how an officer would determine if a driver is fatigued. Butterfield said he had been “tired for the last five weeks”. Butterfield has it right, who isn’t tired at the end of the day. Would driving with a headache break this new law? Without a solid way to determine whether a drivers fatigue or illness is affecting their driving in a dangerous way the bill should be tabled. After all, we already have a law on the books to handle this situation called reckless driving, which Lee admits is in use today by the police. I want to know why Lee thinks it’s a problem that a judge has power to overturn a citation. If there is not enough proof to show reckless driving why should a citation not be overturned? After all isn’t that what our justice system is all about, innocent until proven guilty?

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