Governor Gretchen Whitmer, alongside state officials and advocates against distracted driving, took a significant step on June 7 by signing House Bills 4250, 4251, and 4252. These measures are designed to combat distracted driving, prioritize safety, and save lives. The new laws emphasize the importance of drivers keeping their complete focus on the road by encouraging the use of hands-free technology.
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When will these laws go into effect?
Mark your calendars for June 30, 2023, because that’s when the new rules from HBs 4250, 4251, and 4252 will kick in. They don’t stop at just texting while driving. They also crack down on using social media, streaming videos, and even taking calls on handheld devices. If you’re caught breaking these rules in a regular car, you could be slapped with fines of up to $250. But if you’re driving a big rig or a school bus, be ready to face fines of up to $500. And if your distracted driving causes an accident, brace yourself because those fines will be doubled.
The previous distracted driving law in Michigan only covered texting while driving. This left other cellphone activities like mobile apps, social media, and video streaming unaddressed.
Distracted Driving Statistics.
According to AAA, taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles the risk of a crash. Reading an email or text for five seconds is equivalent to driving blindly across a football field. Cognitive distractions can last longer than you think, with mental distractions lingering for up to 27 seconds after tasks like texting or changing the radio station. Additionally, new teen drivers are three times more likely than adults to be involved in a deadly crash.
The AAA provides essential tips to avoid distracted driving, such as putting your mobile device out of sight to resist temptation, programming your destination before driving if using a navigation system, and safely pulling over before making calls or texting. They also said to ask passengers for assistance with navigation or messages, speak up if the driver is distracted, and avoid calling or texting others who are driving. Another helpful tip is activating the Do Not Disturb feature on your iPhone or Android to block calls while driving. They did note that everyone, including pedestrians and bicyclists, should stay focused in traffic and avoid using phones or playing games while walking or cycling.