Michigan’s New Distracted Driving Law: What You Need to Know

Michigan’s new distracted driving law goes into effect on June 30, barring all drivers from holding and using a mobile electronic device, such as a cell phone, while driving. Although texting and driving has been illegal in Michigan for years, the old law was passed at a time when cell phones and their capabilities were much more limited than they are today. Here’s what you need to know about Michigan’s new distracted driving law: 

The Purpose

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving is the leading cause of most car accidents and near-crashes in the country. In 2020, there were over 14,000 car accidents in Michigan that were caused by distracted driving. The new distracted driving law aims to help reduce the number of car accidents throughout Michigan, lowering the number of driving-related injuries and deaths.

What is in the New Law?

The new law changes Michigan’s current texting and driving laws, making it illegal to now “use a mobile electronic device to do any task.” This includes: 

  • Using your cell phone to make or receive a call,
  • Sending, receiving, or reading a text message,
  • Using a social media website, and
  • Viewing, recording, or sending a video. 

Under the new law, holding or using your cell phone while driving is a primary offense, meaning a law enforcement officer can pull you over and ticket you for using your cell phone while driving. However, the law states that police are not allowed to search your vehicle solely because you received a ticket for using your phone while driving. 

Exceptions to the New Law

Although the new law makes it illegal to hold and use an electronic mobile device while driving, there are exceptions:

  • Drivers can still make and receive phone calls and use their GPS only if it is a hands-free feature, such as using voice commands. 
  • Drivers can hold and use a cell phone to call or text 911 to report an emergency or to seek help.
  • Law enforcement, first responders, and other emergency workers are not prohibited from from using a cell phone in the course of their official duties.

Potential Penalties

If a driver is caught using a mobile communication device, such as a cell phone, while driving a regular motor vehicle, they would face the following consequences:

  • 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 three violations occur within a 3-year period: The driver would be ordered by the court to complete a driver improvement course.

Any civil fines will be doubled if a car accident were to occur and the at-fault driver was holding or using a cell phone while driving. Drivers of commercial vehicles or school buses would face steeper penalties if they are caught using a mobile communication device while driving.

Our skilled driving defense attorneys at The Kronzek Firm have delivered great results to thousands of clients throughout Michigan. Let us help you. To set up your free consultation, call 1 800-576-6035.

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