Michigan Distracted Driving Law Explained
Under MCL § 257.602b, also known as Michigan’s distracted driving law, essentially makes it improper for someone operating a motor vehicle to use, text or look at their cellphone. The language of the distracted driving law focuses on texting on a cellphone or mobile device, but when reading the entire statute, it becomes clear that the distracted driving law actually forbids more than just texting while driving. Section 1 of MCL § 257.602b specifically states:
“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, 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. As used in this subsection, a wireless 2-way communication device does not include a global positioning or navigation system that is affixed to the motor vehicle.”
Commercial and school bus drivers have an added layer applied to them under the distracted driving law. Under Section 3 of MCL § 257.602b, commercial and school bus drivers are also not allowed to “use a hand-held mobile telephone to conduct a voice communication while operating a commercial motor vehicle or a school bus on a highway, including while temporarily stationary due to traffic, a traffic control device, or other momentary delays.” This “use of a hand-held mobile telephone” or cellphone includes “[u]sing at least 1 hand to hold a mobile telephone to conduct a voice communication; [d]ialing or answering a mobile telephone by pressing more than a single button; [and r]eaching 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, restrained by a seat belt.”
There are also exceptions to the general distracted driving law, which allows for individuals to not be found responsible for distracted driving. With that said, there are many situations and circumstances where an individual could be seen acting as if they are violating the distracted driving law; however, the language of the distracted driving law is very specific. Because of its specificity individuals cited under the distracted driving law may or may not have defenses for such a citation. Whenever you are cited for a traffic offense or a criminal misdemeanor you should also consult and seek the assistance of legal counsel to ensure that you matter is handled appropriately. You never want to rely on this information or any information found on the internet when wanting, attempting or pursuing a legal argument in any court here in Michigan or throughout the United States without first seeking legal advice.