Michigan Texting Laws

Michigan Distracted Driving Laws

1. Ban on texting for all drivers (Primary Law).

2. In Michigan, teens with probationary licenses whose cell phone usage contributes to a traffic crash or ticket may not use a cell phone while driving.

Michigan's Texting While Driving Stand

On February 21, 2012, the Senate heard testimony on the bill that would prohibit teens from texting on cell phones while driving. One in five drivers were in accidents beginning in 2002, and many of these drivers were teens, aged 16 and 17.

The Senate committee drew much early support for this type of cell phone law, and in March, 2010 the suggestion was put forth that it should be moved from a secondary enforcement to a primary. A secondary enforcement means that police could only write tickets for cell phone usage after the accident had occurred, while a primary enforcement allows an officer to stop the teen solely for the cell phone usage. Other technical changes to the bill included usage of all hands-on devices, by Senator Steve Biada, who suggested reviewing the specific language that was used in the ban on texting while driving in 2010. Walker was glad to have the recognition and support that was offered on the bill.

The bill was passed with a primary enforcement, but later was challenged to be brought down to a secondary enforcement. Many in the Senate and House regard distracted driving the same as drunk driving, and realize that it now deserves full attention in order to save lives.

After consideration, the Michigan State Police’s Commercial Vehicle Enforcement division decided that primary enforcement was the vision proposed by bill SB 756. The other significant factor was that Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger announced that he wanted to see how the state’s text messaging law was expedited before deciding on cell phone prohibitions. This careful investigation would allow the cell phone bill prime opportunity in going through the Senate and the House.

Cell phone usage is a real problem in Michigan, as it is all around the country. Around 881 cell phone related accidents occurred in 2010, with five people killed and almost 300 people injured. State Rep. Richard LeBlanc proposed legislation HB 4493 back in 2009, which prohibited teens who were on restricted licenses the number of non-family riders that they could transport. This was proven to be the beginning of Distracted Driving Legislation in the state.

On July 1, legislation was passed in the Senate, Bill HB 4394, to outlaw text messaging by all drivers. Text messaging was declared a distraction because vital seconds were taken from the road, whether you are a novice driver or an experienced driver. The fines were then declared as follows: $100 for the first offense; $200 for any thereafter, with no points accrued to the driver’s license.

Legislation SB 468 was proposed to take these violations off the driver’s Master Record. This amendment was added to the original Bill on April 30, 2010.

SB 402 was proposed to eliminate text messaging and hand-held cell phone usage to all drivers, with only the use of hands-free devices for cell phones permitted. This legislation was passed by in the Senate on January 26, 2010. This violation was made a secondary enforcement.

SB 467 This law prohibits school bus drivers from using any form of cellular activity while the bus is moving or students are loading or unloading. The opposition on this law is represented by Paul

SB 417 SB 417 is legislation that is seeking to ban the use of cell phones on all roads in Michigan, and this includes text messaging and instant messaging. This law is presently awaiting a vote, but it is clear that Michigan is serious about distracted drivers on the road.

Michigan is raising important questions and legislation against cell phones, and their use, while driving. Distracted driving laws have been passed in 18 other states, who have considered the Transportation Report that states that over 6000 people have been killed in cell phone related accidents. The government acknowledges this fact, as Michigan has, and prohibits all federal employees from using cell phones while driving. 

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