It’s About Damn Time: Michigan Will Soon be a Hands Free State
* * UPDATE 5/10/23 * * The bills which would make it illegal to hold a cell phone while driving in Michigan have now been approved by the State Senate. They are now on their way to Governor Gretchen Whitmer who is expected to sign the bills into law. * * END UPDATE * *
Michigan is expected to be the next state in the US to ban holding a cell phone while driving, a move that will finally crack down on distracted driving in our state.
New legislation banning the use of hand-held cell phones (and other electronic devices) passed the Michigan House last week and is expected to be approved by the State Senate. From there, the bill will head to the governor's desk, where it is expected to be signed.
Technology Has Changed, Laws Are Now Outdated
Michigan passed legislation in 2010 that banned drivers from texting and driving but that law went into effect when most of us were using flip phones. Activities such as scrolling through social media, emailing, and streaming videos are technically not covered.
The proposed bill will mean that if you're holding your cell phone and doing anything other than calling 911 or reporting a crime, you're in violation of the law. Period.
The law will not apply to using a phone that is mounted or interacting with hands-free devices such as Android Auto or Apple Carplay.
Distracted Driving Deaths in Michigan
In 2021, 21 people were killed on Michigan roadways as a result of cell phone use while driving. Additionally, 2,765 car accidents were attributed to distracted driving due to cell phone use.
State Rep. Mike Mueller is behind the bill. He tells WLNS that he has no doubt whatsoever that passage of the bill will help save lives.
“Adults are constantly glued to their phones,” Mueller said. “There are 12 states that have these laws. They have decreased fatalities by 16%.”
Personally, I'm all for new stricter laws regarding distracted driving. I see it constantly while I'm on the road and believe that passage of this bill will make Michigan roads safer for all of us.