Beginning next month (July 2023), taking a call with a phone to your ear while driving will be illegal in Michigan, after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation aimed to combat distracted driving into law Wednesday.
Whitmer said the new law will save lives and “help parents find peace of mind when their kids leave to go to school or hang out with their friends. They’ll protect pedestrians in intersections, bicyclists using bike lanes and workers in construction zones.”
Voice-based commands, speech-to-text functions and smartphone integration software such as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are unrestricted under the new law. Using a phone in a car mount or in an emergency are still allowed, but checking email or reading texts will also become subject to a fine or community service.
A first violation will be a $100 fine or 16 hours community service. A second violation will be a $250 fine or 24 hours community service. Fines double if the driver is involved in a crash.
A third violation in three years means a court can order the driver take an improvement course. An earlier version would have called for suspending the driver’s license after three violations in three years.
The laws will not apply to on-duty public safety workers like police, firefighters and paramedics.