Michigan ‘Distracted Driver’ law takes effect
Published 5:00 am Saturday, July 1, 2023
LANSING — It is now illegal to manually use a cell phone or other mobile electronic device while operating a vehicle on Michigan roads.
Under the law, a driver cannot hold or support a phone or other device with any part of their hands, arms, or shoulders.
Even if a cell phone or other device is mounted on your dashboard or connected to your vehicle’s built-in system, you cannot use your hands to operate it beyond a single touch.
As a result, you cannot manually do any of the following on a cell phone or other electronic device while driving:
- Make or answer a telephone or video call.
- Send or read a text or email message.
- Watch, record, or send a video.
- Access, read, or post to social media.
- Browse or use the Internet.
- Enter information into GPS or a navigation system.
The law makes holding or manually using a cell phone or other mobile electronic device while operating a vehicle a primary offense-which means an officer can stop and ticket drivers for this violation.
First violation – $100 fine and/or 16 hours of community service.
Second or subsequent violations – $250 fine and/or 24 hours of community service.
Three violations within a three-year period – Complete a driving-improvement course.
If a traffic crash occurs and the at-fault driver was holding or manually using a mobile device while operating the vehicle, any civil fines will be doubled.
Q: Can I use my device while I am stopped at a light or in traffic?
A: You cannot hold or manually use a cell phone or other mobile electronic device at any time while operating a vehicle. Operation Includes being stopped at a light or in traffic but does not include being legally parked.
Q: My phone is mounted on my dashboard, so I’m hands-free. Can I send a text?
A: You cannot use your hands to operate a cell phone or other device beyond a single touch, even if it is mounted. Use voice-activated commands instead.
Q: Can I use Bluetooth or my vehicle’s built-in system?
A: You can use hands-free technology such as Bluetooth or integrated systems within the vehicle as long as you do not manually use the system. Anything more than a single touch is against the law.
Q: What if I see a crash or have an emergency?
A: You can use a cell phone to call or text 911 to report an emergency or seek help.
Q: When does this law take effect?
A: Beginning June 30, 2023, police will start Issuing citations for violating this law.