Rep. Martin Howrylak and Jim Santilli, chief executive officer of the Transportation Improvement Association, announced today distracted driving legislation they’ve designed with the goal of reducing fatalities, injuries, and traffic crashes in Michigan.
“Far too many citizens have been victimized of by a distracted driver and some have tragically lost their lives,” said Rep. Howrylak, R-Troy. “The number of distracted drivers continues to rise and we must take action to make our roadways safer. My bill seeks to ensure Michigan drivers have their attention focused on the road at all times, instead of a mobile device.”
The bill states that a driver may only use a portable electronic device while operating a motor vehicle if the device is in hands-free mode. Violators will receive a civil infraction, beginning with a $250 fine for the first violation. A second violation would result in a $500 fine and one point. A third or subsequent violation carries a $500 fine and two points.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, drivers who use a hand-held device are four times more likely to get into a crash serious enough to cause injury. Similarly, drivers who are texting are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash.
“When operating a motor vehicle, we all have a personal responsibility to protect our life and the lives of the innocent people traveling around us at all times,” said Santilli. “Distracted driving is just as dangerous as operating a vehicle while impaired. No text message, social media update, e-mail, or any other distraction is worth putting a life in jeopardy. I commend Representative Howrylak for his commitment to ensuring all people return home to their loved ones each day.”