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Michigan drivers are still driving distracted despite new law

On Behalf of | Dec 22, 2023 | Car Accidents |

Michigan drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians who spend even a small amount of time on the road know how common it is to see distracted drivers. People have so many options to multitask through a cellphone and other advanced technologies that it is hard for them to resist. In addition, they change the radio, interact with passengers, perform grooming rituals and more. Unfortunately, this leaves others vulnerable to injuries and loss of life in a distracted driving accident.

Like other states across the nation, Michigan has taken steps to address distracted driving with a hands-free driving law that went in effect during the summer of 2023. With it, drivers cannot touch the phone while operating their vehicle. The penalties at first will be a fine of $100 and the possibility to performing 16 hours of community service. The driver will also have points on their license.

The punishments escalate with each subsequent offense. Although the law has been in place for several months, many drivers are still driving distracted. People in an accident should think about the possibility that the other driver was distracted and know how to proceed.

Distracted driving remains a problem

Law enforcement is still seeing drivers who are distracted behind the wheel. Statistically, it is unclear as to how much of an impact the new law is having. Some officers are giving drivers a warning if they truly believe they were unaware of the legal changes.

The number of citations varies depending on the county. For example, Wayne County had an enforcement period for the first 18 days of September and said they gave out 94 citations in 118 traffic stops. Between the end of June and the start of December, Oakland County gave out more than 1,000 citations. Macomb County has given out 452 citations since the law was implemented.

The primary objective is to ensure drivers know about the new law and realize how much damage can be done because of distracted driving. This is understandable considering the statistics issued by the Office of Highway Safety Planning. In 2022 alone, more than one in four accidents had distracted driving as a factor. The numbers may in fact be worse because it is either difficult to determine if a driver was distracted or drivers do not own up to it.

Many problems can stem from an auto accident

When there is an auto accident, people who have been injured or lost a loved one need to think about how to move forward. This can be complicated, particularly when thinking about how to cover for medical costs, lost financial contributions, the need to extensive care and the possibility of a fatality. Knowing how the accident happened and proving it is imperative.

This is especially key with a distracted driving accident since there are hallmarks and evidence that must be sought to show that the driver was not paying attention to the road. For these cases, it is crucial to act quickly. There are strategies to hold those who caused the collision accountable, but it is wise to have help from those with experience and a proven track record.