Cell Phone Use And Texting Under Michigan Driving Laws

Metro Detroit Personal Injury Lawyer

Cell phones are a necessary part of our lives these days. With friends, family and co-workers reachable in some form or fashion at nearly all hours of the day, the urge to send a quick text or check an e-mail while driving can be great. However, not only can texting or cell phone use while driving result in accidents and injury, it can also subject you to costly fines. 

Michigan Texting While Driving Laws 

Under MCL 257.602b, "a person shall not read, manually type, or send a text message on a wireless 2-way communication device that is located in the person's hand or in the person's lap... while operating a motor vehicle that is moving on a highway or street in this state." The law makes clear that the ban on texting does not include a "global positioning or navigation system that is affixed to the motor vehicle." 

Michigan Commercial Drivers & School Buses Barred From Using Hand-Held Cell Phones

For drivers operating a commercial motor vehicle or a school bus on a highway, the law prohibits use of a hand-held mobile phone to conduct a voice communication. Under the law, use of a hand-held mobile phone means: 

  1. Using at least 1 hand to hold a mobile telephone to conduct a voice communication.

  2. Dialing or answering a mobile telephone by pressing more than a single button.

  3. Reaching for a mobile telephone in a manner that requires a driver to maneuver so that he or she is no longer in a seated driving position, and restrained by a seat belt. 

The section does provide exceptions for reporting criminal activity, reporting traffic accidents, medical emergencies and serious road hazards. 

Fines For Violating MCL 257.602b

Persons found in violation of either of these sections is responsible for a civil infraction and will be ordered to pay $100 for the first offense, and $200 for the second or subsequent violations. MCL 257.602b(6). So the next time you take out your phone to write a quick text, ask yourself if its worth a civil infraction, $100 fine, and possible accident. Also, the officer can pull you over if he or she sees you texting. He or she does not need to observe some other violation before pulling you over. 

Teens Banned From ALL Cell Phone Use While Driving

For drivers under the age of 18 with a Level 1 or 2 graduated license, all cell phone use is prohibited, absent a few narrow exceptions. MCL 257.602c. Violation of this law can result in a $100 fine and possible license suspension. The law does not apply if the cell phone is used through a voice-operated system that is integrated into the motor vehicle. 

City Ordinances & Cell Phone Use While Driving 

It is also important to know that your local city or municipality my have enacted ordinances that are even stricter. For example, the city of Detroit prohibits all handheld cell phone use while driving. Detroit drivers making cell phone calls must use hands-free devices. The city of Troy has gone even further, prohibiting any activity that may distract a driver from the roadway. This is not just limited to cell phone use, but can include eating, grooming, reading, etc. 

Metro Detroit Injury Lawyers is a Bloomfield Hills, Michigan law firm practicing personal injury law. Contact us today at 248-430-8929 for a free consultation and evaluation of your case, with no obligation.