Hands-free driving laws are nothing new. But Michigan’s newly expanded distracted driving law completely bans any hand-held phone or other mobile electronic device usage while driving. Recently approved by Governor Gretchen Whitmer, the new bill became law on June 30, 2023 — and for good reason. Fatal distracted driving crashes when the driver was using a cell phone increased by 88% between 2016 and 2020 — according to statistics from the Governor’s office.

Did You Know?

A new distracted driving law took effect on June 30, 2023, making it illegal to use a cell phone in any manner on Michigan roads. All cell phone usage is now unlawful, including making or answering calls, watching or recording videos, accessing or posting on social media, and all multi-touch engagements.

What is distracted driving?

According to the Michigan State Police, distracted driving occurs when drivers are engaged in behaviors that draw the driver’s eyes away from the roadway. These include:

  • Texting
  • Watching videos
  • Browsing the internet
  • Accessing social media
  • Reaching for an item
  • Looking after children or pets
  • Adjusting controls
  • Listening to loud music
  • Making a phone or video call
  • Answering a phone or video call
  • Eating, drinking, or smoking
  • Using a navigation tool

What do I need to know about the new law?

While the previous law enacted in 2010 only banned texting while driving, the new bill prohibits additional engagements with cell phones and other mobile electronic devices, such as GPS systems.

These prohibited behaviors include:

  • Holding a phone or mobile device
  • Supporting a phone or mobile device with any part of their hands, arms, or shoulders
  • Operating a phone or mobile device beyond a singular touch — even if it’s mounted on the dashboard or connected to a vehicle’s built-in system

What are the penalties?

The new distracted driving law in Michigan is considered a primary offense. This means that offending drivers can be pulled over by police officers who can then impose serious penalties.

Learn the penalties you can face if you violate the new law below:

First Violation*

Fined $100 and/or 16 hours of community service

Second Violation*

Fined $250 and/or 24 hours of community service

Third Violation**

Mandated driving-improvement course

* All fines will be doubled if the driver’s illegal behavior leads to a crash.
** Within three years.

Are there any significant exemptions?

While the law staunchly prohibits several behaviors while driving, there are also exemptions to note. Penalties will not be imposed against public safety workers who violate the rules while on duty, including police officers, firefighters, and EMTs.

There is also an exception if a driver needs to call or text 911 to report an emergency or seek help. Additionally, certain medical devices that require manual usage while driving — such as an insulin pump — are allowed to be used while driving by law.

Tips for Preventing Distracted Driving

  • Silence calls and texts by using your phone’s “Do Not Disturb” feature
  • Don’t touch your phone while driving except for emergency needs — even at red lights or other stops
  • Keep music at a reasonable level and avoid using earbuds or headphones
  • Pull your vehicle over to attend to children or pets
  • Don’t drink, eat, smoke, or engage in other distracting behavior
  • Ask passengers to help navigate, intercept calls and texts, and adjust controls

Making Michigan Roads Safer

As a dedicated group of trusted insurance advisors, we understand the importance of minimizing potential threats on the road. At Doeren Mayhew Insurance Group, we stand behind Michigan’s expanded distracted driving law because we believe it can — and will — save lives.

Contact us to learn more about the new law or how our auto insurance solutions can protect your family’s health and financial well‑being.