Whitmer signs distracted driving bill into law
Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a law today to ban the use of hand-held electronic devices while driving starting June 30th. Drivers will only be able to use phones in the hands-free mode.
Driving while holding onto a phone or some other electronic device will be against the law in Michigan starting June 30th. Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the bill into law Wednesday in a ceremony attended by the families of people killed in crashes where distracted driving played a part.
“Each traffic death is more than just a statistic,” said Whitmer. “It’s a human being. It’s a person with a story and a family, a life cut short.”
Drivers will still be allowed to use phones, but only in the hands-free mode. Exceptions will be allowed to report a crime or call for emergency assistance.
Drivers would face a fine of up to $100 for a first offense. A second offense could cost drivers up to $250s. For a third offense, drivers would face the same fine plus an order to take a road safety refresher course.
Whitmer cited AAA-Michigan statistics that say the 100 days after Memorial Day are the deadliest time of year on Michigan roads.
“This will reduce distracted driving crashes that have taken too many lives and shattered so many families across Michigan,” she said. “Every driver in Michigan knows that their attention must be on the road, not on their phone.”
The ceremony took place at hockey arena in Plymouth Township named for Mitchel Keifer. The 18-year-old was killed in 2016 in a highway crash that involved a distracted driver.
Mitchel’s father Steve Kiefer and the rest of his family spent years lobbying for the law. Keifer said they’re not done.
“This is the 26th state but we’re not stopping here,” he said. “We’re going to take a little time to celebrate. We’re kicking off hands-free Florida next and we will not stop until all 50 states have hands-free legislation on the books saving lives all over the country.”
Whitmer has set a goal of steadily reducing traffic fatalities in Michigan to reach zero by the year 2050.