April is national distracted drivers’ month and the police will be cracking down on violators. But don’t think this only applies to April. Texting while driving has been illegal in both Michigan and Indiana for over six years. Unfortunately, drivers just don’t seem to be getting the message so law enforcement is planning to increase their distracted drivers patrol this month as well as encourage stiffer fines for these offenses. Right now, the fine for texting and driving in Michigan is $100 for the first offense, next time it goes to $200. The fine in Indiana is only $25 but if you are involved in an accident because of using your phone, the fine can go up to $1,000.
Michigan law prohibits all drivers from texting while driving which, according to law (sec.257.602.b) includes, “not reading, manually typing or sending a message on a wireless 2-way communication device that is located in the person’s hand or in the person’s lap, including a wireless telephone used in cellular telephone service or personal communication service, while operating a motor vehicle that is moving on a highway or street in this state.” Exceptions include reporting a traffic accident, medical emergency, serious road hazard or to report a criminal offense where someone may be in danger. State police are using undercover units to spot drivers who are texting or driving distracted. In March, enforcement led to the issuing of over 1,600 tickets in Michigan alone. Although not illegal, other forms of distracted driving can be equally dangerous. Eating, chatting on the phone, changing the radio station or programming your GPS can cause a driver to take their eyes off the road. Even letting your pet sit on your lap can cause a distraction that could lead to an accident. Taking your eyes off the road, even briefly, can cause drivers to swerve out of their lane, run red lights and stop signs or cause a rear end collision when the car in front of you suddenly stops. State Farm Insurance, as well as the Traffic Improvement Association of Michigan, are offering safe driving instruction for students and young drivers who are often the worst offenders. The crackdown by police as well as driving education is all part of an ongoing effort to keep drivers safe by keeping hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. Distracted driving causes accidents and driving while texting can increase the risk of an accident by 5 times. According to MSP crash data; there are two roads in Michigan with the highest incidents of these types of distracted driving accidents. M-51 in Niles, Michigan and M-139 in Benton, and it’s those areas that will be seeing a significant increase of State Police out enforcing the law. Attorneys Collis & Griffor reminds you to drive safely and follow the laws. If you need a traffic attorney Ypsilanti MI, call Collis & Griffor, PC today at 734.827.1337 or contact us to set up an appointment for a free consultation.