Does Michigan Have The Weakest Distracted Driving Laws In The U.S.?
What is Michigan doing to improve one of the weakest distracted driving laws in the nation?
You may be surprised by what you can legally do in Michigan that you can not do in most states in regards to distracted driving. According to the Sinas Dramis Law Firm the current state law only prohibits you from texting while holding your cellphone, but it's legal to do the following:
- Texting or reading a text while your phone is resting on your console, dashboard, or device mount
- Texting while riding a motorcycle (under Michigan law, a motorcycle is considered a vehicle but not a motor vehicle)
- Reading or typing a post on social media, regardless of the location of your phone
- Reading or typing emails
- Checking or creating calendar entries
- Playing a video game or solving a puzzle
- Watching a YouTube video
In Illinois you can get a ticket for using or just holding your device while driving. There are even times that you can get in trouble for using your device "hands free" according to the Chicago Tribune,
Naperville police reiterated in the release that it continues to be illegal to text or talk while holding a device at a stop sign, at a red light or while sitting in traffic when a vehicle is not in neutral or park.
“It is also illegal for anyone to use a cellphone — even hands-free — in a school zone, within a construction zone, within 500 feet of an emergency scene or if you are under 18 years old,” the department said.
There are 3 new Michigan house bills that could dramatically improve restrictions on devices while driving as well as increasing the penalties. These bills don't just cover cell phones according to NoviLaw.com,
The new laws will also prohibit the use of mobile electronic devices while driving. This includes:
- Cell phones
- Video devices
- Any device that is removable from the vehicle, handheld, and used to transmit data manually.
All three bills were introduced in February of 2019 and are yet to be passed. You can see the three bills here: 4181, 4198, and 4199.
The fact is there were 7,516 crashes in the state of Michigan in 2015 that were caused by distracted driving. Let's lead the nation in prevention, not accidents.