Michigan’s new distracted driving law goes into effect June 30: Here’s what to know

Michigan’s distracted driving laws will change beginning June 30. Here’s what you need to know about new rules aimed at reducing crashes and fatalities on the state’s roadways:

What is Michigan’s new distracted driving law?
Beginning June 30, it will be prohibited in Michigan to use a cellphone while driving, unless it’s being used via a hands-free program or device, like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, or a physical phone mount for those driving vehicles without connectivity features.

This means drivers cannot text, scroll through social media apps, hold their phones up to make calls (with some exceptions, more on that later) or do anything else that requires them to physically hold the device while driving. This includes while being stopped at a red light or stop sign.

Lisa Lunsford board chair, MICHauto, co-founder and CCEO of GS3 Global, left, Steve Kiefer, founder and chairman, Kiefer Foundation, former president, GM International, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, state Rep. Matt Koleszar, the bill’s sponsor, and Brad Wieferich, MDOT director, as Whitmer joined state officials and anti-distracted driving leaders to sign three bills aimed at reducing distracted driving and saving lives by ensuring that drivers have their full attention on the road with the use of hands-free technology.

How is this different from before?
The new distracted driving law expands on Michigan’s existing ban on texting and driving. Advocates for the new law say it brings the state’s policy closer to modern technology standards.

Are there any exceptions?
Yes — there are exceptions for making emergency calls or reporting a crime taking place. Emergency responders, like police officers and ambulance drivers, are also excluded from the new law, so long as any device use pertains to their actual work responsibilities. Additionally, utility workers are also excluded from the distracted driving law with the same caveat.

What are the penalties for distracted driving?
Drivers cited for violating the new distracted driving law will have to pay a fine — a $100 civil fine for first-time offenders and/or 16 hours of community service, followed by $250 fines for each subsequent violation, and/or 24 hours of community service.

Fines would be doubled if the penalty occurs during a car crash.

Fines are also greater for school bus and commercial vehicle drivers.

Anyone who commits three violations of the distracted driving law in a three-year span would have to take a basic driving instruction course to avoid having their license revoked.

One Comment

  1. I was behind a local police car at the corner of Easterday and Ashmun. From that point until I turned into the Krist gas station, three vehicles with people that had their ear glued to a cell phone passed us going the opposite direction. You can pass a hundred more traffic laws, but if they are not enforced, what good are they. Maybe in order to get stopped they have to have two cell phones glued to their ears. Sort of like not getting stopped for speeding until you are 10 mph over the limit.

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