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Michigan addresses distracted driving issue, bans drivers from using smartphones

On Behalf of | Jun 21, 2023 | car accidents |

Distracted driving has long been a problem across America, causing over 32,400 collision-related fatalities nationwide from 2011 to 2020. Many things can distract drivers from seeing the road ahead and cause a collision, such as eating while driving or using a GPS. But Michigan recently enacted a law that further prohibits one of the biggest driver distractions.

Earlier this month, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a new law that outlaws handheld cellphones while driving automobiles. The new law expands the state’s current ban on texting and driving and now includes restrictions for other handheld phone activities, such as making calls and scrolling through social media.

The new law also made the penalties for distracted driving more severe. Drivers charged with their first offense face a $100 fine or 16 hours of community service. For any subsequent offenses, drivers must pay a fine of $250 or render 24 hours of community service. Those who accumulate three or more violations in three years must attend a driving improvement course.

How serious is Michigan’s distracted driving issue?

The new law highlights how severe the distracted driving issue is in Michigan. According to a government release, 5.9% of vehicular crashes in the state in 2021 involved a distracted driver. That figure may not sound like much, but it actually translates to 16,543 motor vehicle crashes in 2021.

The report also noted that a noticeable 45.7% (1,263) of rear-end crashes in Michigan in 2021 involved a driver using a cellphone.

Injuries from distracted driving-related collisions

Because most of Michigan’s distracted driving-related collisions were rear-enders, drivers who get hit can expect the following injuries:

  • Back injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Head injuries, concussions and traumatic brain injuries
  • Neck and whiplash injuries

While some of these injuries aren’t immediately apparent, they can be incredibly painful and take months or even years to treat. This is especially true of whiplash and head injuries. Drivers who suffer from these injuries could quickly end up paying up to $100,000 for medical costs.

Michigan’s expanded ban on cellphone use could discourage some drivers from scrolling through their phones while on the road. But the law might not entirely stamp out the risk of distracted driving. Drivers who suffer injuries from an accident caused by a distracted driver are encouraged to file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver to seek compensation for the damages. To ensure adequate compensation, injured drivers should consider hiring an attorney to negotiate with the other party and protect their client’s rights in court.


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