Q. Can I hold a phone while driving in Michigan?
A. No. House Bills 4250, 4251 and 4252 were enacted into law with the signature of the governor on June 7, 2023. They take effect on June 30, 2023. These laws mean that it is now illegal to hold a phone while driving in Michigan.
As described by the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning:
Texting while driving is already illegal in Michigan… The new law now makes all cell phone usage illegal while driving.
What’s in the new law?
The bill amends Michigan law to make it illegal to “use a mobile electronic device to do any task, including, but not limited to” the following:
- Send or receive a telephone call.
- Send, receive, or read a text message.
- View, record, or transmit a video.
- Access, read, or post to a social networking site.
It is also illegal to reach for a cell phone or mobile electronic device in a way that requires the driver to maneuver so that they’re no longer “in a seated driving position, restrained by a seat belt.”
The law makes holding or using a cell phone while driving a primary offense — meaning an officer could pull someone over and ticket them for this offense. The new legislation specifically states, however, that police would not be allowed to search a driver solely because of this violation.
The legislation defines holding a cell phone or electronic device as physically supporting it with “any part of the hands, arms or shoulders.”
Drivers caught violating the rules would face fines and/or be required to perform community service.
If a person is caught holding or using a cell phone, or mobile electronic device, while driving a regular motor vehicle, they would face the following fines:
- First violation: $100 fine or 16 hours of community service, or both.
- Second or subsequent violation: $250 fine or 24 hours of community service, or both.
- If 3 violations occur within a 3-year period: The driver would be ordered by the court to complete a driver improvement course.
If a person driving a commercial vehicle or a school bus is caught holding or using a cell phone, they would face the following fines:
- First violation: $200 fine or 32 hours of community service, or both.
- Second or subsequent violation: $500 fine or 48 hours of community service, or both.
Under the legislation, if a crash were to occur and the at-fault driver was holding or using a cell phone while driving, any civil fines would be doubled.
There are a few exceptions to the rules.
- Law enforcement, first responders, and other emergency workers would not be prohibited from using a cell phone while performing official duties.
- The same exception goes for anyone calling or texting 911 to report an emergency or seek help.
- Drivers will still be allowed to use their GPS, but only if it’s hands-free. Phones could be used as navigation systems so long as it is in a hands-free fashion, such as mounting it to the dashboard or using voice commands to control it.
- Generally, using voice commands or hands-free modes to use mobile electronic devices is allowed.
Driving phone-free is the best way to ensure you’re giving 100% of your attention to the task of driving, 100% of the time. Your own safety and the safety of everyone around you depends on it.
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