The bills are a good step forward in combating distracted driving
Dearborn, Mich. (May 2, 2019) — With more than 1.4 million members in Michigan, AAA has been a vocal advocate for improving traffic safety for over 100 years. AAA Michigan applauds the Michigan House Transportation Committee for passing three bills that will strengthen the current distracted driving law (House Bill 4181, 4198 &4199).
Key aspects of the bills include:
- Prohibiting an individual under the age of 18 years old from using a cell phone in any way, while driving.
- Expanding the prohibited uses of a cell phone beyond just “texting and driving” to reflect current technological capabilities (i.e. social media, gaming, recording or watching video, sending or reading emails).
- Increasing the fine for a first offense from $100 to $250 and $200 to $500 for a subsequent offense.
The bills would also ban handheld phone use. AAA encourages limiting all distractions behind the wheel, even hands-free phone use. AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety research has found that unsafe mental distractions can persist for as long as 27 seconds after drivers use voice-based technology.
“It is important to remember hands-free is not risk free,” said Heather Drake, Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs, AAA-Michigan. “Most drivers believe that if their eyes are on the road and their hands are on the wheel, then they are focused on the drive, but research proves that there are hidden dangers when using a cell phone or in-vehicle technology.”
AAA is committed to helping drivers curb the urge to engage in distracting behaviors behind the wheel. As part of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April, AAA Michigan encouraged drivers to pledge to limit distractions while driving.
AAA Michigan is part of The Auto Club Group (ACG), the second largest AAA club in North America with headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, travel, insurance and financial services offerings to approximately 9.8 million members across eleven states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with nearly 59 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety.