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The Law Blogger is a law-related blog that informs and discusses current matters of legal interest to readers of The Oakland Press and to consumers of legal services in the community. We hope readers will  find it entertaining but also informative. The Law Blogger does not, however, impart legal advice, as only attorneys are licensed to provide legal counsel.
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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Texting While Driving Soon Illegal in Michigan

Distracted driving takes lives.  Many adults have experienced that sick feeling of guilt and relief when you realize you've crossed over the center-line because you were checking your cell phone.

For most of us, we swerve back to our lane, hoping for the best and, statistically, you're fine; you continue to your meeting or appointment.  Others, however, are not so lucky.  Many injuries and deaths result as the incidents of distracted driving sweep over our state's roadways.

The cause is the now-ubiquitous cell phone and our seemingly insatiable need to "stay-in-touch" with everyone and everything at all times.  The electronic criminal lawyer posted on this subject last spring, speculating that it would not be long before the law catches up with our irresponsible habits.

The Michigan Senate has already passed the main legislation and Governor Granholm has indicated she plans to sign the legislation immediately into law.

The proposed fines are $100 for a first offense and $200 for a second offense.  The House of Representatives are now working-out how violations will be recorded by the Secretary of State on a driver's master driving record.

Stay tuned and put your cell phones down when you are driving.

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Anonymous WGS said...

Do you happen to know what a police officer will need to see to be able to write a ticket for this offense?

I spend a lot of time on the roads. I've seen a lot of people who I believed may have been texting, but very few that I knew for sure were texting, because most people don't hold their phones up to their face while texting, they hold them in their lap. This law will only encourage more people to attempt to conceal their texting.

It seems to me that the only way to enforce this law will be to equip police cars with electronic intercept gear or at least give them real-time access to every telcomm network in the region.

I'm not a fan of distracted driving but I think the potential for abuse here is pretty high and I've read nothing in the media about the enforcement methods for this law. Have you heard anything?

April 22, 2010 at 7:12 AM 
Blogger Timothy P. Flynn said...

Enforcement of this misdemeanor will be an issue for the very reasons you suggest. Law enforcement will either be limited to the obvious cases (just last nite I observed a driver lurch over a curb as he appeared to be dialing his phone), or in cases where an accident occurred and the at-fault party's cell phone appears to have activity at the time of the accident. An additional source of revenue for the municipalities, for sure. But hopefully also a deterrent for blatantly careless text drivers.

April 22, 2010 at 8:44 AM 
Anonymous Al Lopez said...

I hear so many things about how the law will be enforced, but don't think that's the issue. Texting while driving is dangerous, period. If police officers need to pull over every single driver who seems to look down at something, so what? We need to raise awareness of the risks associated with distracted driving. I know I learned a lot after reading the articles on TextNDrive at

May 10, 2010 at 10:25 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are people talking on phones in cars that can't handle driving. they come walking out of a store not on a phone. The minute they get in that car they got that phone in their ear and trying to back out of a parking space. All the while taking someone's back quarterpanel with them. These people may not even be talking to anyone they are listening to music on their phone. IDOITS should not have cell phone. How do you enforce that?

June 7, 2010 at 11:32 AM 
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