Michigan Distracted Driving Law Expanding: What To Know
The Michigan House of Representatives just made a big move. They passed a plan that cracks down on distracted driving and using cell phones without hands-free capabilities while cruising down the roads. The current law only bans texting while driving, but this new plan takes things even further.
When Will The Bills Become Law?
The bills that were just passed are set to become law on June 30th, right before Independence Day. This year, Independence Day falls on a Tuesday, so we’ll have the whole weekend to celebrate while knowing that these new laws are in effect.
What Are The Distracted Driving Bills?
According to the main bill in the package, House Bill 4250, drivers won’t be allowed to “hold or use a mobile electronic device” while behind the wheel. It covers everything from sending or receiving phone calls or text messages to watching, recording, or even sending videos. Also, reading or posting on a social networking site is a big no-no while driving. They’re putting a stop to all the major distractions that can take our attention away from the road.
If someone gets caught violating it for the first time, they’ll have to choose between paying a $100 fine or serving 16 hours of community service. But if they end up repeating the offense, the punishment gets harsher. A second violation will cost them $250 or 24 hours of community service. And here’s the kicker: the fines double if they’re involved in a crash.
If someone commits three violations of this law within three years, they’ll have to take a basic driving instruction course. It’s like a mandatory refresher to remind them of the importance of safe driving.
Regarding House Bill 4252, the Michigan State Police will prepare a report on the new law. They will wait 42 months after it becomes effective, keeping track of various data. Looking at things like racial and demographic information on traffic stops related to distracted driving. Plus, they’ll keep an eye on how many crashes, serious injuries, and even deaths are caused by violations of the law.
Are there exceptions?
When it comes to exceptions, on-duty public safety workers are actually exempted from it. This would be people like police officers, firefighters, and paramedics. The ban also makes exceptions for emergency situations. So, if you find yourself in a critical moment and need to use your handheld device to call 9-1-1 or report something urgent like a reckless driver, crime, or traffic crash, you’re allowed to do so.
You can still use your phone if it’s mounted on a dashboard or if you’re using hands-free technology. So, as long as you’re not physically holding the phone while driving, you’re in the clear.
If you’re a fan of two-way radios like CB or ham radios, you can still use those too. They’re not considered a violation under the new law. It’s like keeping those old-school communication methods alive.
A vital exemption is if you have a medical device like an insulin pump that’s designed to be worn, you’re allowed to use it while driving.