Michigan lawmakers have proposed new bills to expand the distracted driving law.
Have you ever been behind a driver who seemed to be less in control of their car than you would hope?
Have you ever driven behind someone whom you could see was texting on their phone while driving, or worse?
These occurrences on the road are disturbingly frequent, even with Michigan’s 2010 law against texting and driving.
Facts Behind Michigan House Bills 4181, 4198, and 4199
According to the AAA-Foundation for Traffic Safety, your risk of crashing doubles when you engage in “all forms of visual-manual cell phone tasks.”
The same study found that cell phone interaction while driving makes you three times more likely to have a road departure crash and seven times more likely to rear end someone.
A 2009 study from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that texting while driving makes it 23.2 times more likely that you will be in a crash or near-crash and that dialing and handheld cell phone while driving can make you 12 times more likely to crash.
The new laws will help Michigan’s laws catch up with technology that has evolved since 2010, keeping more drivers on their smartphones doing – or attempting to do – more types of distraction inducing things.
Michigan’s New Distracted Driving Proposals
The new Michigan law will expand prohibitions already in effect against texting to include:
- Sending interactive communication
However, it also means image-based communication, viewing or recording a video, reading social media, or posting on social media.
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.
It would also make it illegal to wear headphones or earphones in both ears while driving.
Proposed New Distracted Driving Penalties in Michigan
Under the existing law, MCL 257.602b, texting while driving is a civil infraction and may incur a penalty of $100 for the first offense and $200 for second and subsequent offenses.
However, if you are involved in an accident, especially if it kills someone, you may spend a significant amount of time in prison if it can be proven that you were using your cell phone before the accident.
As you can imagine, it’s effortless for the police to prove something like this.
The penalties under the new law would be increased. Here are the proposed penalties:
- Under the new law, violations of the above bring a civil infraction with a $100 fine or 16 hours of community service.
- A second or subsequent violation would be a $250 fine and 24 hours of community service or both.
- Texting and driving fines would increase from $100 to $250 for a first offense and $200 to $500 for subsequent offenses.
- If a car accident occurs, the fines would double.
- A second offense would result in one point on your driver’s record.
- Your license would be suspended after three or more violations in a three-year period.
- Three or more violations would result in two points on your driving record.
Because so many more drivers are distracted now, the only way to truly be safe is never to use your cell phone with your hands while driving.
Many newer model cars are equipped with a mobile phone interface. At the minimum, a hands-free earpiece makes it possible to make critical calls while on the road.
You may think you can use your mobile phone and drive safely. However, the statistics declare the opposite.
Call Michigan Criminal Attorney, David J. Kramer
If you are facing criminal charges related to distracted driving in Michigan, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. Call David J. Kramer to fight for your best outcome.
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