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Michigan Legislature Considering Hands-Free Cellphone Bill

Three bills are being proposed to the Michigan Legislature that would only allow hands-free calls and texting, as well as increase penalties for people who text or post on social media while driving.

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Michigan’s Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently called on Legislature to address the dangers of distracted driving in her State of the State address, according to an article by the Detroit Free Press.

With her plea, three bills were ready to be proposed to the committee that would only allow hands-free calls and texting, as well as increase penalties for people who text or post on social media while driving, and were introduced in the House of Representatives following her speech.

“I believe it’s time for Michigan to join the 16 states that have passed hands-free laws to keep our roads and our kids safe,” said Whitmer.

In 2017 in Michigan, there were 5,237 accidents, including 23 fatal crashes and 1,514 wrecks that resulted in injuries, that were caused by drivers who were using some sort of electronic device while they were driving, according to statistics from the Michigan State Police, as reported in the article.

The state enacted a ban on texting while driving in 2010, but subsequent attempts to go further by a ban on holding and talking on a phone while driving have stalled in the Legislature. Former state Rep. Martin Howrylak, R-Troy, was the last sponsor of a bill that would ban talking on the phone while driving unless it was a hands-free option, but the bill never made it out of committee.

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Some cities, including Troy, Warren and Battle Creek, have enacted stricter distracted driving ordinances that ban holding and talking on a cell phone while driving. In the first year after Troy passed its ordinance in 2010, more than 600 citations were written.

To read the full article, click here.

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