Utah bill allows anonymous reporting of dangerous drivers

| 1/10/2007

If a Utah state lawmaker gets his way, residents could call in anonymous tips about dangerous drivers.

Sen. Allen Christensen, R-North Ogden, has offered a bill that is intended to help people report relatives that might not be able to drive safely.

Utah law now requires that drivers be given the name of who reported them to officials.

The measure - SB84 - would allow anonymity to those reporting drivers whose impairments could pose imminent threats to their own and others' safety, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

The rule would apply to anyone, regardless of age. However, Christensen said his focus is elderly drivers.

"One of the principle pushers of this is my own mother," Christensen told The Tribune. "She thinks nothing of getting in the car and driving to California. It's getting scary. There are people who won't police themselves."

Christensen said he believes granting anonymity would make the tough decision easier on everyone involved.

Opponents said older people shouldn't be singled out as the problem. Others cite statistics from the Utah Department of Public Safety that show in 2004 drivers older than 65 accounted for just 5.6 percent of the nearly 97,000 drivers involved in wrecks, The Tribune reported. Drivers up to 29 years of age were involved in 47.5 percent of wrecks.

To prevent harassing people, the bill includes a provision that would make reporting false concerns punishable up to 90 days in jail and/or up to a $750 fine.

SB84 is awaiting assignment to a committee for the session that begins Jan. 15.