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Michigan State Police launching distracted driving public information campaign

person holding a phone while in the driver's seat of the car on the road
Pixabay Creative Commons

The Michigan State Police is launching a public information campaign to inform drivers about a new ban on using mobile devices while driving.

Michigan already had a law on the books that bans texting while driving. But recently approved legislation, which takes effect at the end of June, will now prohibit using a mobile device in the driver's seat for any purpose unless it’s in the hands-free mode.

Motorists who break the law could face a fine of up to $100 fine for the first violation, a fine of up to $250 for the second offense and the same fine plus a required road safety refresher course for the third offense.

Nancy Feldbush is the communications manager with the Office of Highway Safety Planning. She said the law makes it clear what is not permitted while on the road.

“It all boils down to, do not hold, we are no longer able to hold an electronic device in our hands while driving,” she said.

Feldbush said the state is rolling out a two-phase campaign to raise awareness about the new law. Residents can expect to see social media posts and notices on billboards and broadcast services about the distracted driving ban. She adds more information and a frequently asked questions page will be available soon on the office’s website.

Michigan State Police Public Information Officer Mike Shaw said state troopers will have the discretion to choose if they want to give distracted drivers a verbal warning or issue a ticket.

He encouraged drivers to go beyond the law's requirements and keep their phones out of sight while on the road to avoid any distractions.

“Just put it in the glove box, put it in the trunk, do whatever you got to do to make sure that you're not doing any of those (tasks) because all those parts could get you pulled over and in a citation,” Shaw said.

"There's no text, there's no phone call, there's no social media tweet, any of that that is worth you going to prison for because you took somebody's life."

Arjun Thakkar is WKAR's politics and civics reporter.
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