Distracted Driving Law to go ‘Hands-Free’ in Michigan

distracted driving

Distracted driving due to cell phone use is a serious problem involving the safety of others on the road. Texting and driving is responsible for more than 1.1 million accidents every year and causes over 390,000 injuries. Additionally, around one out of every four accidents in America are caused by cell phone usage while driving.

What is the New Law?

Governor Whitmer signed a bill that went into effect on June 30, 2023, which makes it illegal to operate a cell phone while operating a vehicle on Michigan roads. As such, this makes a list of the following outlawed when operating a vehicle:

  • Make or answer a telephone or video call.
  • Send or read a text message or email message.
  • Watch, record, or send a video.
  • Access, read, or post to social media.
  • Browse or use the internet.
  • Enter information into a GPS or other navigation systems.

Even if a cell phone is mounted on an individual’s dashboard or connected to the vehicle’s media system, one cannot use their hands to operate it beyond a single touch. However, there are a couple exceptions to this law. Phones may be used through Bluetooth and voice activation technology through the media center of an individual’s vehicle, so long as they do not manually operate the technology with more than a single touch. Also, individuals may use their phones to dial and talk to 911 operators in emergency situations. Overall, though, there should be no manual use of any device while driving. This law encourages drivers to focus on just the road, and the safety of others who they share the road with at the same time.

What are the Penalties?

The first violation will result in a $100 fine and/or 16 hours of community service.

The second or subsequent violations will result in a $250 fine and/or 24 hours of community service.

Three violations within a 3-year period will result in needing to complete a driving-improvement course.

In all violations, if the driver is involved in a traffic crash where the at-fault driver was holding or manually using a mobile device while operating the vehicle, civil fines will be doubled.

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