Michigan Law Prohibits Operating a Cell Phone While Driving

Because of the dangers of distracted driving, Michigan prohibits using a cell phone or mobile electronic device while operating a vehicle.

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Using a Cell Phone or Electronic Device While Driving: What You Need to Know

Michigan prohibits using a handheld cell phone or mobile electronic device while driving unless the vehicle is in “hands-free mode.” This includes making or receiving phone calls, texting or messaging, video recording, watching videos, using social media, browsing the internet, and performing other tasks. It is also illegal to hold your phone while driving and manually enter GPS information for navigation.

Using a cell phone by either dialing or texting is a form of “distracted driving.” Texting is the most dangerous form of distracted driving due to the amount of time a driver’s eyes are off the road ahead. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,522 people were killed as a result of distracted driving in 2021 alone.

Exceptions to the Rule

Hands Free Mode

Hands Free Mode means using a Bluetooth or similar system so that the driver is not physically touching the cell phone. “Hands Free Mode” includes:

  • Apple CarPlay
  • Android Auto
  • Physical phone mounts

One Single Button Press, Tap, or Swipe

A person operating a vehicle can execute a single button press, tap, or swipe to activate or deactivate a feature or function of the mobile electronic device (cell phone) or to select a telephone number or name.

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Penalties for Using a Mobile Electronic Device While Operating a Car or Motor Vehicle

Penalties for texting while driving include fines, community service, points on your license, and driving school. The statutory penalties are:

  • First violation: $200 fine, 32 hours of community service, or both
  • Second or subsequent violation: $500 fine, 48 hours of community service, or both
  • Third violation within three (3) years: Mandatory driver’s improvement course.

Of course, additional penalties might result if there is a serious injury or death.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use my phone while stopped at a traffic light? No, the cell phone prohibition law prohibits a driver from using a cell phone while stopped at a traffic light or street sign.

If my phone is mounted, can I use it while driving? You cannot use your hands to manipulate a mounted cell phone. You can operate it while parked or by voice, but not with your hands while driving or at a traffic light.

Can I use my cell phone while driving in the case of an emergency? Michigan law permits drivers to use their cell phones while driving to call 911 to report an emergency or seek help.

Can I be charged with any crimes in addition to texting while driving? Yes. Depending on the circumstances, you can face reckless or careless driving charges, in addition to an offense under Michigan’s hands-free cell phone law.

Can I be pulled over for texting while driving if I haven’t committed any other civil infraction? Yes. Texting or using a cell phone while driving is a primary offense, which means a police officer can pull someone over for that offense in and of itself.

What is a Mobile Electronic Device? “Mobile electronic device” means an electronic device not permanently installed in a motor vehicle, including, but not limited to, a device capable of text messaging, voice communication, entertainment, navigation, accessing the internet, or producing email.

What does operating or driving mean relative to the hands-free driving law? “Operate” means to drive or assume physical control of a motor vehicle on a public way, street, road, or highway, including operation while temporarily stationary because of traffic, road conditions, a traffic light, or a stop sign. “Operate” does not include a motor vehicle that is lawfully parked.

What is social media or a “social networking site”? “Social networking site” means any web-based service that allows individuals to construct a profile within a founded system and communicate with other site users for social or amusement purposes.

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Defense Attorneys for Using a Cell Phone While Driving

The Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has decades of experience defending and protecting clients charged with civil infractions, traffic misdemeanors, and felonies. Our team has an unparalleled track record of achieving outstanding results for clients. We can help you if you face allegations of using a cell phone while driving or any criminal offense. Our ultimate goal is to seek a dismissal of all charges when possible. Call us today for a free consultation. We are not afraid to win!

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.

We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

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