GREAT WHITE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WJRT) — An updated distracted driving bill passed by the Michigan House on Tuesday urges drivers to stop using their cellphones while driving.
The main piece of legislation prohibits the use of all mobile devices in the driver’s seat.
Current law states that it is illegal to ONLY send text messages WHILE driving the vehicle.
This bill will modernize what is illegal behind the wheel to include social media, streaming services and camera use.
“You can still live stream on your phone, you can record Tik Toks. That hasn’t taken into account the modernization of our cell phones and the technology in our vehicles,” the state representative said, Mari Manoogian.
Rep. Manoogian says it’s a victory to see this distracted driving bill moving forward.
“The current legislation on the books is simply unenforceable. We’ve been working with law enforcement for three years on this legislation and so we were really happy to take this next step in the process of turning this into law,” said said Manoogian.
Grand Blanc Township Police Chief Ron Wiles said there’s a gray area between what’s legal and what’s not, so he’s happy to see legislation that could make the things a bit more black and white.
“If they’re speeding up or going really slow because they’re doing things in their vehicle, that’s easy. But the hardest part is proving they’re texting under current law and that’s where this law will help our business tremendously,” Willes said.
Bill has a few expectations like making emergency calls, selecting a phone number, or using a GPS system.
But Wiles says it’s a big step to help make our roads safer.
“Over the past few years, deaths on our highways in the state of Michigan have been on the rise. They’re going in the wrong direction,” Wiles said. “We have over 1,000 deaths a year on our roads, and that’s too many. When we can manage to modernize a law to hold people accountable for what they do that shows fatalities, that’s a good thing. “
To become law, the legislation would need to pass the Michigan Senate and be signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
Whitmer has already shown her support for the concept.