Lawmakers introduce distracted driving bill - WNEM TV 5

Lawmakers introduce distracted driving bill

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

New legislation aims to penalize distracted drivers and help prevent deadly accidents in Michigan.

It is against Michigan law to text and drive, but that doesn't stop many people from using their smartphone while behind the wheel.

Michigan State Police Sgt. Ryan Hare said he can't count the number of drivers he sees on their phones.

"A lot of times the behavior of someone texting and driving, crossing all lanes of traffic, is very similar to someone driving when they had too much to drink," Hare said.

Some Michigan lawmakers want to take traffic laws one step farther. A bill introduced into the state House would prohibit using all handheld devices for any reason including texting, talking or using apps - unless it has a voice controlled, hands-free option and is being used that way.

If the bill is passed the device would have to be mounted on the windshield, dashboard or center console. The hands-free option would also have to be operated with just a single swipe or tap.

Some drivers said they don't think the hands-free option should even be allowed.

"I still think you're paying attention to what you're talking about and could be losing track of what you're actually driving," said Beth Siewert, driver.

The bill also calls for an increase in penalty for violators - $250 for the first time and up to $500 and two points by the third offense.

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