03:05 AM

AAA: Governor Whitmer Signs New Distracted Driving Bill

The new bills will modernize Michigan's outdated distracted driving laws

Video for Media: B-Roll

DEARBORN, Mich., (June 7, 2023) — AAA-The Auto Club Group applauds Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer for signing HBs 4250, 4251 and 4252. The package of bills, which were passed by the House and Senate, will modernize Michigan's distracted driving laws to include a ban on the use of handheld devices.

"AAA – The Auto Club Group is so grateful to see these distracted driving bills finally become law," said Craig Ryan, Director of Government Relations, AAA-The Auto Club Group. "Distracted driving remains a growing traffic safety problem here in Michigan. Our research shows that education and legislation are key factors in changing driving behavior."

With the governor's signature, enforcement of HBs 4250, 4251 and 4252 will begin on June 30, 2023. Once in effect, the new laws will address a variety of issues, including banning the use of handheld devices beyond just texting and driving to include the use of social media, video streaming and sending or receiving calls. Violators in passenger vehicles could face fines of up to $250 and drivers of commercial vehicles, including school buses, could face fines of up to $500. Maximum fines would be doubled for violations that cause an accident.

Michigan's previous distracted driving law only addressed texting while driving. It did not prohibit the other ways individuals interact with their cellphones such as with mobile apps, social media or even video streaming. This lack of clarity and reference to out-of-date cellphone technology prompted lawmakers to introduce this package of bills that strengthen Michigan's existing distracted driving law in an effort to create safer roads.

Sobering statistics

  • Looking away from the road for just two seconds doubles the risk of a crash.
  • Five seconds of reading an email or text is like driving across a football field while blindfolded.
  • Cognitive distractions last longer than you think and can cause a dangerous crash or fatality. Mental distraction can last up to 27 seconds after dialing, texting or changing the radio station.
  • New teen drivers are 3x as likely as adults to be involved in a deadly crash. Michigan's graduated driver licensing system is designed to help new drivers gradually learn the rules of the road under less risky conditions.

"Today, with the advancements of in-vehicle technology and the use of cellphones in our daily lives, drivers have the potential to be more distracted than ever before," said Adrienne Woodland, spokesperson, AAA – The Auto Club Group. "Michigan's new distracted driving laws are more in line with current trends and will help prevent drivers from becoming another statistic."

AAA offers these tips to avoid distracted driving:

  • Put it away. Place your mobile device out of sight to prevent temptation.
  • Know where you're going. If using a navigation system, program the destination before driving.
  • Pull over. If you must call or text while on the road, pull off the road safely and stop first.
  • Ask passengers for help. If riding with someone, seek their help to navigate, make a call or send a message.
  • Be a good passenger. Speak out if the driver of your vehicle is distracted.
  • Don't be a distraction. Avoid calling or texting others when you know they are driving.
  • Activate Do Not Disturb. Setting up this feature on iPhone or Android device will prevent calls from coming in while you're driving.
  • Everyone should avoid distractions while in traffic. Just as drivers need to pay attention, so do pedestrians and bicyclists. Never call, text or play games while walking or cycling.

AAA in Michigan celebrated its 100th Anniversary - A Century of Service in 2016 and has over 1.5 million members across the state. It is part of The Auto Club Group (ACG). Connect with us on Facebook and LinkedIn.

The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America with more than 13 million members across 14 U.S. states, the province of Quebec and two U.S. territories. ACG and its affiliates provide members with roadside assistance, insurance products, banking and financial services, travel offerings and more. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 62 million members in the United States and Canada. AAA's mission is to protect and advance freedom of mobility and improve traffic safety. For more information, get the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.