Historically, many driving laws have focused on ensuring people do not drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. While these issues still exist, there are newer laws in Michigan designed to combat the frequent problem of distracted driving, particularly when a cell phone is the distraction. While texting is perhaps the most well-known distracted driving offense, there are several other issues that are common as well.
According to the Michigan State Police, state law prohibits drivers from texting while they are driving. The first offense may lead to a $100 fine, while subsequent convictions may yield higher fees of $200. The police also warn against several other activities that may affect a driver’s ability to concentrate on the road. These include talking on a cell phone, eating, using a navigation system or completing personal grooming tasks. Even listening to loud music or talking with passengers may be distracting enough to affect a person’s ability to drive safely.
There may be stricter distracted driving laws in the near future. According to the Detroit Free Press, statistics show that cell phone use is a frequent cause of car accidents. In 2017, there were over 5,200 accidents where drivers were using an electronic device. There were fatalities in 23 of these crashes.
Many lawmakers feel that the state’s current ban on texting while driving is not effective enough to prevent crashes. Michigan legislators may adopt new bills that would make it illegal for people to hold their phones while driving. In other states that have similar “hands-free” driving laws, drivers may only use voice controls or headsets to access their phones. There may be exceptions to allow drivers to make emergency phone calls. Stricter distracted driving laws may help keep everyone on the roads safer by drastically reducing the number of accidents.