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West Michigan police to increase enforcement of distracted driving laws as part of study

Posted at 10:03 AM, Oct 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-05 10:03:38-04

LANSING, Mich. — The Grand Rapids and Wyoming police departments will join the Kent County Sheriff’s Office and Michigan State Police Sixth District in a study evaluating methods of enforcing the state’s distracted driving laws.

The study—and increased enforcement—will be conducted over a two-week period. Michigan State University researchers are trying to determine if safety messages affect driver behavior.

Participating police departments plan on 1,000 hours of enforcement, including the Detroit Police Department, MSP Second District, Wayne County Sheriff’s Office.

The state reports 70 fatalities in crashes involving distracted driving – texting or cell phone use.

Portable message signs will be posted displaying various messages on texting and driving.

“We hope this research will provide us with new strategies in combating this deadly problem,” said Michael L. Prince planning director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning in a release.

In Michigan, it is illegal to drive while reading, typing, or sending text messages. The exceptions are to report crashes, crimes, or other emergencies. The study is supported by funds from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.