2023 : Hands Free Mobile Phones Now Law

June 30, 2024 all-day

Drivers will soon face fines for using mobile devices to make phone calls and post to social media on Michigan’s roads under legislation approved by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday.

Those who lost loved ones in accidents involving a distracted driver called on Michigan state lawmakers to establish the new penalties against phone use in the car, which are slated to take effect June 30.

“This legislation is designed at saving lives, and that’s incredibly important,” said bill sponsor Rep. Matt Koleszar, D-Plymouth, during an April committee hearing on the legislation.

House Bills 42504251 and 4252 amend the Michigan Vehicle Code to prohibit using a non-hands-free device while driving, with a few exceptions for making calls to emergency services or reporting a crime taking place.

It strengthens Michigan’s current ban on texting and driving to encompass essentially all phone usage while behind the wheel. Advocates for the new law say it brings the state up to speed with the pace of modern technology.

The new law makes Michigan the 26th so-called “hands-free state” in the U.S. In 2021, the last year with available annual data, there were 2,765 vehicle crashes where cellphone use was a factor, according to the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning. Twenty-one of those crashes were fatal.

Source : Arpan Lopo and Clara Hendricksen, “Whitmer signs bills banning cell phone distracted driving on Michigan roads”, Detroit Free Press, June 8, 2023.