April 17, 2023
Michigan’s Distracted Driving Laws: What You Need to Know
Distracted driving constitutes a significant danger to drivers and pedestrians alike. Distractions while driving have become more frequent due to the widespread use of smartphones and other electronic devices. People also have busier lifestyles, which contribute to this issue; they feel the need to stay connected and check out every notification on their phone, even when they are driving.
Michigan has developed laws to reduce distracted driving and make roads safer. These laws respond to the increasing concern about distracted driving. Residents and visitors must understand the legal provisions in Michigan to comply with them and ensure safety on its roads.
Definition of Distracted Driving
In the realm of traffic safety, one prevalent issue that has gotten significant attention is distracted driving. Michigan distracted driving laws are designed to reduce this risky activity. This helps to keep roads safe for all users, including drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists.
What is Distracted Driving?
- Distracted driving is any behavior that takes the driver’s focus away from the main task of driving safely.
- It includes texting, eating, talking on the phone, playing with the radio or navigation system, consuming food, or drinks, tending to personal grooming, and talking to other people in the car.
When it comes to Michigan’s distracted driving laws, not all distractions are treated equally under the law. Secondary tasks, such as talking to passengers, may be allowed. However, activities like texting or calling on handheld devices are considered dangerous and are prohibited.
What Are the Penalties for Driving Distracted?
Many drivers have experienced a sinking feeling in their stomachs when they see flashing lights in their rearview mirror. It can be even more distressing when they realize they were pulled over because of their distracted driving.
In Michigan, distracted driving penalties are intended to deter the behavior and hold drivers accountable. This is true for other states as well.
- Drivers in Michigan must be aware of the potential consequences of their actions. These consequences may include fines, points on the license, and even jail time in some cases.
- Texting while driving warrants a fine of $100 for first-time offenders; subsequent violations have a fine of $200. No points for this offense will be added to an individual’s driving record.
- Engaging in careless or reckless driving can have serious consequences. This includes distraction-related behaviors. Six points may be deducted from the driver’s license. In some cases, imprisonment is also possible. The severity and circumstances of the infraction will determine the penalty.
Best Practices for Avoiding Distractions
To reduce the risks of driving distracted, here are some helpful best practices to follow when driving.
- Adjust seat positions, mirrors, climate controls, and audio settings before driving
- Use hands-free technology or activate your phone’s ‘do not disturb’ feature
- Plan routes ahead of time with GPS navigation systems or mapping applications
- Have your passengers help with navigation, allowing the driver to concentrate solely on driving
Q. If you see a car accident, should you pull over?
A. If you are behind or closest to the vehicles involved in the accident, pull over if you can do so safely. However, if your stopping blocks the road or makes it difficult for emergency personnel to reach the injured, it is best for you to keep driving.
Q. Is eating and driving illegal like drinking and driving?
A. Eating and driving is also a form of distracted driving, but it is more of a secondary task. However, it can be quite dangerous, which is why you shouldn’t do it.
Q. What are the laws for driving while playing loud music?
A. In most states, including Michigan, playing loud music while driving is illegal and can get you a fine. Moreover, loud music is considered distracting and can lead to accidents.
Q. What is the penalty for using a mobile phone while driving?
A. Using your mobile phone while driving is a visual type of distraction, which leads to a $100 fine for first-time offenses, followed by $200 for each subsequent offense.
Q. Is it illegal to text a message while stopped at a red light?
A. Even though your vehicle is stopped at a red light, texting someone may be considered distracted driving, especially if the light turns green and you impede normal traffic.
Have you or a loved one been injured in a car accident by a distracted driver? Let the team at Elia & Ponto help navigate your auto injury claim. You can schedule a free consultation with one of our vehicle accident attorneys to learn how we can get you the maximum claim for your car accident injury.