Utah Senate kills bill to allow anonymous reporting of drivers

| 2/1/2007

A bill that would have allowed people to call in anonymous tips about dangerous drivers in Utah has died.

The Senate voted 18-10 to kill a bill that sought to allow anonymity to those reporting drivers whose impairments could pose imminent threats to their own and others' safety.

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

Sen. Allen Christensen, R-North Ogden, said the bill - SB84 - was intended to help people report relatives that might not be able to drive safely. The rule would have applied to anyone, regardless of age. However, Christensen said his focus was elderly drivers.

Opponents said they didn't like the idea of people anonymously tattling on someone.

"It's always troubled me when we can't look our accuser in the face," Sen. Darin Peterson, R-Nephi, told The Salt Lake Tribune.

Others said older people shouldn't be singled out as the problem. They 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 included a provision that would have made reporting false concerns punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or up to a $750 fine.