By James Herold
On June 7, 2023, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a “hands free” distracted driving law that will go into effect on June 30, 2023.
According to Michigan.gov, “In early May, the Michigan House and Senate passed House Bills 4250, 4251, and 4252 to amend parts of the Michigan Vehicle Code in an effort to reduce distracted-driving crashes and fatalities.”
Texting while driving is already illegal in Michigan, but that law was instituted years ago, when cell phones and their capabilities were much different. The new law now makes all cell phone usage illegal while driving. “Distracted Driving” is described as followed:
* Send or receive a telephone call.
* Send, receive, or read a text message.
* View, record, or transmit a video.
* Access, read, or post to a social networking site.
Consequences for phone use while driving is as followed:
First violation: $100 fine or 16 hours of community service, or both. Second or subsequent violation: $250 fine or 24 hours of community service, or both. If 3 violations occur within a 3-year period: The driver would be ordered by the court to complete a drive-improvement course. If a person driving a commercial vehicle or a school bus is caught holding or using a cell phone, they would face the following fines: First violation: $200 fine or 32 hours of community service, or both. Second or subsequent violation: $500 fine or 48 hours of community service, or both.”
Gov. Whitmer posted about the new law on her Facebook page,
“Too many Michigan families know the unbearable pain of losing a loved one in an avoidable accident caused by a distracted driver,” she wrote. “With this law, we will combat distracted driving, make our roads safer, and save countless lives.”
There are exceptions to the new law; “Law enforcement, first responders, and other emergency workers would not be prohibited from using a cell phone while performing official duties. The same exception goes for anyone calling or texting 911 to report an emergency or seek help. Drivers will still be allowed to use their GPS, but only if it’s hands-free. Phones could be used as navigation systems so long as it is in a hands-free fashion, such as mounting it to the dashboard or using voice commands to control it. Generally, using voice commands or hands-free modes to use mobile electronic devices is allowed.”
Michigan is now the 26th state with hands free laws.