Michigan Police crackdown on Distracted Driving in April

LANSING-Police agencies in Michigan have spent the month of April teaming up with the Office of Highway Safety Planning for a high-visibility enforcement effort on curbing distracted driving.

To help keep everyone safe, officers will remind drivers about the dangers of distracted driving while enforcing Michigan’s Hands-Free Driving Law, which took effect on June 30, 2023.

The goal of this initiative is to reduce traffic crashes caused by distracted drivers, ultimately preventing injuries and deaths. Many police agencies have begun enforcing a zero-tolerance policy. If they see a driver on the road using their cellphone, they will get pulled over.

State officials said that anyone who violated the law will have to pay a $100 ticket or complete 16 community service hours for their first offense, pay $250 or complete 24 hours of community service for the second offense, or complete a driving-improvement course if a third offense happens within a three-year period.

Fines will double if the driver causes a crash.

“Any activity that takes your eyes off the road and your hands off the wheel is extremely reckless and puts you and other roadway users at risk,” Katie Bower, director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, said in a statement. 

While drivers recognize using their phone while driving is dangerous, they’re doing it anyway. The temptation for tech is visceral and ever-present, so drivers don’t always realize when they shift into distracted driving.

The state issued the following tips for safe driving:

  • If you are expecting a text message or need to send one, pull over and park your car in a safe location. Once you are safely off the road and parked, it is safe to text.
  • Designate your passenger as your “designated texter.” Allow them access to your phone to respond to calls or messages.
  • Do not engage in social media scrolling or messaging while driving.
  • Struggling to not text and drive? Activate your phone’s “Do Not Disturb” feature, or put your cell phone in the trunk, glove box, or back seat of your vehicle until you arrive at your destination.
  • When you get behind the wheel, be an example to your family and friends by putting your phone away. Just because other people do it doesn’t mean texting and driving is “normal” behavior.
  • If you see someone texting while driving, speak up.
  • Listen to your passengers: If they catch you texting while driving and tell you to put your phone away, put it down.

According to Michigan Traffic Crash Facts, in 2022 there were 15,441 motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver, including 5,905 injuries and 57 distracted-driving fatalities. The most common crash type for distracted-driving crashes was rear-end, which accounted for 48.4 percent of distracted-driving crashes.

The top five counties for distracted driving crashes were Wayne (2,347); Oakland (2,163); Macomb (1,692); Kent (1,353); and Ottawa (617)

Additional information regarding this legislation and the penalties associated are available through the Michigan State Police Office of Highway Safety Planning website at www.Michigan.gov/DistractedDriving.

At Traffic Court Buddy, we believe that every individual should have access to legal representation for any traffic-related charges. From tickets to forfeiture of vehicles, we make it our mission to help provide all the facts to help ensure you receive the minimum possible penalties for any alleged infraction. If you need traffic court representation, reach out today!