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Distracted-driving enforcement, roadway safety the focus during National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Officers reminding drivers about the dangers of driving distracted
In support of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, police agencies throughout Michigan are teaming up with the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) for a high-visibility enforcement effort during April.
Throughout the month, police officers across the state will remind drivers about the dangers of distracted driving while enforcing Michigan’s Hands-Free Driving Law, which took effect on June 30, 2023. The goal of this initiative is to reduce traffic crashes caused by distracted drivers, ultimately preventing injuries and deaths associated with mobile device use and texting while driving.
According to Michigan Traffic Crash Facts, there were 15,441 confirmed motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver in Michigan during 2022, the most recent year for which data is available. These distracted-driving crashes resulted in 5,905 injuries and 57 fatalities.

“Any activity that takes your eyes off the road and your hands off the wheel is extremely reckless and puts you and other roadway users at risk,” said Katie Bower, OHSP director. “Determining whether a distraction was a factor in a crash isn’t always easy to ascertain, and because of this, we know distracted driving is underrepresented in crash reports.
“In an effort to encourage safer driving behaviors, officers will be stepping up enforcement and ticketing anyone who is caught texting or committing other hands-free law violations while driving.”
Research shows the most common crash type for distracted-driving crashes is rear-end crashes, which accounted for 48.4 percent of all distracted-driving crashes in 2022.
Violating Michigan’s Hands-Free Driving Law can be costly: For the first offense, a $100 ticket and/or 16 hours of community service; for the second offense, a $250 ticket and/or 24 hours of community service; and for a third offense, within a three-year-period, the driver is to complete a driving-improvement course.
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