Battle Creek’s new distracted driving ordinance meant to ‘make the community safer’

Posted at 6:52 PM, Dec 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-27 20:26:15-05

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — The Battle Creek Police Department announced Friday they will begin enforcing the new distracted driving ordinance.

A few signs that read ‘No handheld electronics while driving’ were put up on a few main roads that lead into the city to remind drivers to put the phones down.

“You should be paying attention to the signs obviously,” Lt. Jim Martens said during an interview with FOX 17 at BCPD headquarters. “Don’t use your phone while you’re within the city limits.”

That means no texting, no scrolling, no using cell phones for anything while driving, he said. If a driver gets pulled over they will be fined $100. The second time, it’s $200.

“I think we’re pushing towards more hands-free devices,” Lt. Martens said. “There are obviously exceptions to the rule as far as using your phone. If you see a crime being committed obviously it’s legal to use your phone to let us know about that.”

He added that drivers may also use their phones while driving in other emergency situations like a vehicle accident or if you see someone hurt or in danger. It’s also OK to use phones as a GPS as long as they're mounted to the dashboard.

“The GPS units that you put on your dashboard, they’re allowed,” Lt. Martens said. “This is more for having your hands on anything that is being used to text, to scroll, to communicate two ways.”

Lt. Martens said police officers have to abide by the new ordinance as well. They can only use their cell phones if it’s for official business.
Ultimately, the new ordinances was created to make the community safer.

“Anything that distracts you even for just a split second can mean the difference between you hitting something or someone or being able to survey your surroundings and make the proper breaking or movement just prior to getting into that accident, and possibly saving someone’s life,” said Lt. Martens.

***For more information on the ordinance, click here***