Distracted Driver – Macomb County Michigan
A distracted driver presents a significant danger to the public. Distracted driving claimed 3,477 lives in 2015 alone. NHTSA. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving is “any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.” A distracts a driver puts the driver, other occupants, and everyone else on the road in danger of serious injury or death. That risk must be eliminated.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2016, on average, every day in the United States 8 people are killed and are 1,161 injured in accidents that were caused by distracted driving. Every year, greater than 2.5 million people are involved in accidents. Out of these accidents, 1.6 million have been the result of cell phone use. This means that 64% of all traffic accidents are caused by distracted driving. This is a shocking statistic. The statistics show that over half of all traffic accidents are caused by cell phone usage. Statistics The statistics show that distracted driving is the leading factor in most crashes as cited by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.
A recent driver survey indicated that a shocking 96 percent of drivers have texted while driving. Another shocking statistic shows that fatalities in Michigan rose 14.5 percent from 936 in 2012 to 1,072 in 2016. Clearly, distracted driving is a problem.
Because distracted driving poses a significant danger to people on the road, most states, including Michigan have outlawed distracted driving. Michigan has enacted the following law to combat the problem:
MCL 257.602b Reading, typing, or sending text message on wireless 2-way communication device prohibited; use of hand-held mobile telephone prohibited; exceptions; “use a hand-held mobile telephone” defined; violation as civil infraction; fine; local ordinances superseded.
“Except as otherwise provided in this section, a person shall not read, manually type, or send a text message on a wireless 2-way communication device that is located in the person’s hand or in the person’s lap, including a wireless telephone used in cellular telephone service or personal communication service, while operating a motor vehicle that is moving on a highway or street in this state.” Full Text of Statute.
Distracted driving in Michigan would include the following activities:
- Using a cell phone/texting
- Eating and/or drinking
- Talking to passengers in the vehicle
- Reading, including maps
- Watching a video
- Changing the radio station, CD, or MP3 player.
While most of the activities occur daily, law enforcement has focused on texting and driving.
Penalties for Distracted Driving in Michigan:
- First Offense – Civil infraction, $100 fine.
- Second or subsequent offenses, $200 fine.
A distracted driver ticket or texting ticket is a 0 point infraction that does not get reported to the SOS. The infraction does not get put on the driving record.
As of the writing of this article a state representative has proposed a bill with stiffer penalties. Freep article on proposed penalties.
Distracted Driver Crackdown
On Hall Road, in Macomb County, Michigan, law enforcement has enacted a program called “Ghost Rider.” Essentially, a “ghost” law enforcement officer will be a passenger in an unmarked vehicle on Hall Road. The officer will be specifically looking for a distracted driver. Once a distracted driver is spotted, the officer will radio ahead to another unit who will conduct the traffic stop. Ghost Rider program
The Michigan State Police are actively looking for distracted drivers. Michigan State Police Crackdown
While the ticket for distracted driving is a civil infraction that is not the only ticket the officer can write. Depending on the facts of the situation a distracted driver could be cited for careless or even reckless driving.
Do Not Become a Distracted Driver
I have attached a link to an older YouTube video depicting a distracted driver accident. The video is graphic. However, the video makes it point powerfully. Link to YouTube video
A CBS News report, Statistics on texting while driving, indicated that a distracted driver is 23 times more at risk of a crash, according to Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study. The study from Virginia Tech also determined that in the time that a driver looks down to send a text, 4.6 seconds, the vehicle will have traveled the length of a football field. This statistic indicates that a person would not be able to stop in time to prevent an accident.
Distracted Driver Evidence
If a distracted driver is involved in a car accident, especially an accident causing serious injury or even death, the police will find out of the driver had used the cell phone. Law enforcement will take the cell phone into evidence and even obtain a search warrant to obtain the phone records. So, there is no point to lie to the police about using a cell phone. A distracted driver would be better served by not making any statement to the police.
The statistics show that the amount of traffic accidents in Michigan can be reduced if people did not use their cell phone while driving. The need to send or look at a text is not that important. It is certainly not as important as your life or the life of another person. Just wait to look at the phone. You certainly do not want to be a defendant in a civil lawsuit resulting from distracted driving. A text is simply worth the time, money, and hassle.
Moreover, you do not want to face a charge of civil infraction causing death. You could face serious jail time for a traffic accident. If convicted, it will always remain on your driving record and criminal history. A text message or viewing Facebook is not worth that amount of trouble.
If you have received a ticket for being a distracted driver contact our office to learn about the infraction. Hiring a lawyer can often times save you money on a traffic ticket. Traffic Ticket in Michigan – Do I need a lawyer?
If you have been involved in an accident contact our office. We can discuss the case and options with you.
Contact our office at any time – 24-7/365.
JAMES E. CZARNECKI II (586) 718-2345
GENEVIEVE L. TAYLOR (586) 350-6044