The Michigan House Transportation Committee is considering a new bill that would make it illegal for Michigan drivers to use a hand-held electronic device for any purpose while driving. As we have pointed out before, it is currently illegal to text while driving. The current law only forbids sending 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." MCL 257.602b. The bill under consideration would go even further, by adding penalties for all cell phone use while driving, such as checking e-mails, or opening social media apps like Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat.
According to the bill, drivers would still be able to use hands-free devices or bluetooth technology to send and receive texts and calls. The penalty for using a hand-held device under the proposed bill would be steep:
- First Offense: $250 fine
- Second Offense: $500 fine & one point
- Any subsequent Offense: $500 fine & two points
Some city ordinances already have similar legislation as it relates to cell phone use while driving. For instance, the city of Detroit prohibits all handheld cell phone use while driving. The City of Troy has gone even farther, broadly prohibiting any activity that may distract a driver from the road.
The committee did not vote on the bill, but are expeted to soon. Stay tuned to our blog for updates.