On June 30, 2023, Michigan’s new distracted driving law took effect, cracking down on handheld device usage while behind the wheel.
According to the law, “a driver cannot hold or support a phone or other device with any part of their hands, arms, or shoulders.”
Over 32,400 people died in distracted driving-related crashes between 2011 and 2020. – National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Moreover, it is illegal to use your hands to operate a cellphone or electronic device “beyond a single touch.” These rules apply even if the device is mounted to the dashboard or connected to the vehicle’s built-in system.
Using a device hands-free, such as with Bluetooth or voice commands, is allowed as long as there is no manual operation beyond a single touch.
The Michigan government specified that the regulations also apply at stoplights or while stopped in traffic; however, devices may be operated manually when the vehicle is parked.
Under the new law, police can stop and ticket drivers who violate the hands-free rules, with penalties rising for multiple offenses.
The following are penalties that may be issued for unlawful device usage while driving, according to the government:
- First violation— $100 fine and/or 16 hours of community service
- Second or subsequent violations— $250 fine and/or 24 hours of community service
- Three violations within a three-year period— Mandatory driving-improvement course
- After a crash— If a traffic crash occurs and the at-fault driver was holding or manually using a mobile device while operating the vehicle, any civil fines will be doubled.
All Michigan drivers must comply with the new distracted driving law, which is now in effect. The law’s aim is to keep drivers safe, as distracted driving represents a significant portion of vehicle incidents.
In 2021 alone, nearly 6% of all vehicle crashes in Michigan involved a distracted driver, according to the government. Approximately 18% of these crashes involved drivers under the age of 21. Parents of young drivers should consider taking time to explain the new law to their children and discuss the risks involved with distracted driving.
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The content of this article is of general interest and is not intended to apply to specific circumstances. It should not be regarded as legal advice and not be relied upon as such. In relation to any particular problem which they may have, readers are advised to seek specific legal advice.