Distracted Driving is a growing cause of accidents and deaths across the country, and Michigan isn't exempt from that.

So to hopefully lower the number of accidents involving distracted drivers in Michigan, the state has signed a new law, that takes effect on June 30th. Lawmakers say it will increase restrictions for drivers who could be distracted. So what will be included in the new law?

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According to the Michigan State Police, there were 16,543 distracted-driving incidents in Michigan in 2021, and 59 of them were fatal. In the past, they've said as many as 34,000 of car accidents occured because of distracted driving.

With new technology being added to vehicles every year, and people's addictions to smart phones, it's becoming easier to find something in the car to take your eyes off the road.

In the past, Michigan had a "no texting" law in place that prohibited drivers from sending text messages while in the driver's seat and operating a vehicle. But now, drivers are navigating GPS, making phone calls, and flipping through music on Spotify, too.

In response, Michigan has upped its law, and made it even more strict.


What's in the new law that wasn't before?

Starting June 30th, it will be illegal in Michigan to use a cellphone at all while driving. The only exceptions might be if you use a hands-free device or program like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, or a physical phone mount for those driving vehicles without connectivity features.

But you cannot have the phone in your hand.

This includes activities such as:

  • Texting
  • Scrolling through social media apps
  • holding phones up to make calls
  • any other activity that requires holding the device while driving

And this DOES include while stopped at a red light.

The only exception might be while making an emergency call, or to report a crime taking place. Emergency personnel who are working are also exempt from this law.


What's the penalty?

The new law has several levels of accountability. Drivers cited for violating this law will have to pay a fine.

  • $100 civil fine for first-time offenders and/or 16 hours of community service
  • $250 fine for each subsequent violation, and or 24 hours of community service.
  • Fines will double if the penalty occurs during a car crash
  • fines are also greater for school bus and commercial vehicle drivers

And finally, anyone who commits three violations of the new distracted law within a three-year time period will be required to take a basic driving instruction course to avoid having their license revoked.

The new law takes place June 30th, but it's probably a good idea to start adjusting early.

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