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Fight for Hands-Free to Stop Distracted Driving

League of Michigan Bicyclists

Michigan’s current ban on texting while driving does not cover many other distractions from phone use behind the wheel.

LMB supports laws that would make it illegal to hold or use a phone while operating a vehicle, except in an emergency.

Tell your legislator today:

"I am writing to urge your support for hands-free driving legislation that is strong, enforceable, and broad in scope. The continued increase in distracted driving crashes shows a need for stronger laws than the current texting while driving ban.
 
I appreciate the leadership on this issue shown by Representatives Cole, Manoogian, and Sheppard, and by Senator Johnson. I support House Bills 4181 (prohibits all phone use while driving for drivers under 18) and 4199 (increases penalties for prohibited phone use while driving). I appreciate the intent behind House Bill 4198 (prohibits text-based messaging, games, social media, photos, videos, etc. on phones while driving), but it does not go far enough. These bills were passed out of the Transportation Committee unanimously on May 2 and sent to the Ways and Means Committee.
 
HB 4198 is a step in the right direction, but needs to be stronger to equal the enforceability of hands-free bills such as Senate Bill 288 (Johnson) and those under consideration in Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, North Carolina and Maine - in addition to the 18 other states with hands-free laws on the books, most recently including Minnesota and Arizona. Each of these states will ban all hand-held use of phones except in emergency situations. With voice activation, Bluetooth, and other technologies, drivers can eliminate manual distraction completely.
 
Hands-free laws are much simpler for police to enforce than texting or social media bans that leave loopholes for phone calls. As Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said in an April 26 press conference, “This is a growing problem. We’ve seen a large increase in distracted driving crashes over the past decade with the proliferation of smart phones and other electronic devices.  New technology can improve our lives, but motorists need to remember that their primary focus needs to be on driving their vehicle safely when they are on the road.”
 
Distraction was a factor in at least 3,166 fatal crashes on American roadways in 2017, according to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA).

In Michigan, data shows a 57% increase in distracted driving crashes and a 67% increase in fatalities from those crashes from 2016 to 2017, according to the Michigan State Police Criminal Justice Information Center: 43 people killed in 2016 and 72 killed in 2017. Preliminary numbers indicate 75 deaths in 2018 as the crisis continues.
 
I call on you to pass a strengthened hands-free driving law that is easy to enforce, hard to ignore, and effective in making our roadways safer for people who bike, walk, and use wheelchairs. I support the League of Michigan Bicyclists' efforts on this issue. Thank you for your leadership on this important public safety matter."

Fight for Hands-Free to Stop Distracted Driving

League of Michigan Bicyclists

Michigan’s current ban on texting while driving does not cover many other distractions from phone use behind the wheel.

LMB supports laws that would make it illegal to hold or use a phone while operating a vehicle, except in an emergency.

Tell your legislator today:

"I am writing to urge your support for hands-free driving legislation that is strong, enforceable, and broad in scope. The continued increase in distracted driving crashes shows a need for stronger laws than the current texting while driving ban.
 
I appreciate the leadership on this issue shown by Representatives Cole, Manoogian, and Sheppard, and by Senator Johnson. I support House Bills 4181 (prohibits all phone use while driving for drivers under 18) and 4199 (increases penalties for prohibited phone use while driving). I appreciate the intent behind House Bill 4198 (prohibits text-based messaging, games, social media, photos, videos, etc. on phones while driving), but it does not go far enough. These bills were passed out of the Transportation Committee unanimously on May 2 and sent to the Ways and Means Committee.
 
HB 4198 is a step in the right direction, but needs to be stronger to equal the enforceability of hands-free bills such as Senate Bill 288 (Johnson) and those under consideration in Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, North Carolina and Maine - in addition to the 18 other states with hands-free laws on the books, most recently including Minnesota and Arizona. Each of these states will ban all hand-held use of phones except in emergency situations. With voice activation, Bluetooth, and other technologies, drivers can eliminate manual distraction completely.
 
Hands-free laws are much simpler for police to enforce than texting or social media bans that leave loopholes for phone calls. As Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said in an April 26 press conference, “This is a growing problem. We’ve seen a large increase in distracted driving crashes over the past decade with the proliferation of smart phones and other electronic devices.  New technology can improve our lives, but motorists need to remember that their primary focus needs to be on driving their vehicle safely when they are on the road.”
 
Distraction was a factor in at least 3,166 fatal crashes on American roadways in 2017, according to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA).

In Michigan, data shows a 57% increase in distracted driving crashes and a 67% increase in fatalities from those crashes from 2016 to 2017, according to the Michigan State Police Criminal Justice Information Center: 43 people killed in 2016 and 72 killed in 2017. Preliminary numbers indicate 75 deaths in 2018 as the crisis continues.
 
I call on you to pass a strengthened hands-free driving law that is easy to enforce, hard to ignore, and effective in making our roadways safer for people who bike, walk, and use wheelchairs. I support the League of Michigan Bicyclists' efforts on this issue. Thank you for your leadership on this important public safety matter."