Morning Mix


Know the Law: Distracted Driving Legislation

Posted at 11:00 AM, Feb 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-07 11:01:00-05

Big news out of Lansing when it comes to safer driving laws, and breaking it down for us this week is Grand Rapids auto accident attorney, Tom Sinas of Sinas Dramis Law Firm. A bipartisan group of legislators in the Michigan House recently passed a package of bills that would strengthen protections against distracted driving. In this segment, Tom covers Michigan’s current distracted driving laws, including the use of smartphone technology, the developments leading up to this new legislation, and how distracted driving impacts personal injury claims.

Michigan's current distracted driving laws are currently among the weakest in the country and virtually impossible for police to enforce. Driving distractions have multiplied exponentially with the use of cell phones and handheld devices in vehicles; drivers can now text, send emails, call, browse social media, and more.

Michigan’s current distracted driving laws essentially create three classes of drivers:

  1. Drivers of ordinary motor vehicles, such as an automobile, SUV, or pickup truck.
  2. Those driving commercial motor vehicles.
  3. New drivers, specifically those with a level 1 or level 2 graduated driver’s license.

Most people fall into the first category, and the law doesn’t do much to prevent this group from cell phone use resulting in distracted driving. The law only prohibits texting while holding the phone in hand or lap while driving a motor vehicle; the law fails to prohibit everything else a person could do on their cell phone.

Back in March of 2021, legislation proposed a bill to severely limit how people can use their phones in the car. The legislation prohibits people from using mobile devices in their cars with a few exceptions to this rule. Additionally, the legislation outlines a number of other instances in which no exceptions apply.

The following are examples of instances in which there are no exceptions:

  • Drivers cannot have two headphones in their ears while operating a motor vehicle.
  • People cannot access their social media accounts from their phones while operating a motor vehicle.
  • People cannot be viewing or recording videos while driving.

The few exceptions built into this bill include:

  • Prohibitions do not apply to first responders.
  • People are allowed to make 911 calls.
  • Permits people to use GPS devices on their phones provided they’re not typing the location in while on the device.
  • Allows for reading or entering a phone number to make a phone call.
  • Permits for the use of voice-activated software on a mobile device or hands-free equipment to make a phone call

Furthermore, the bill proposes a series of penalties for those who violate this legislation.

To learn more, visit sinasdramis.comor call 616-301-3333.

This segment is paid for by Sinas Dramis Law Firm. Contents of the article provided by Sinas Dramis Law Firm Blog.