As you drive down Michigan roads, you may notice many people who use their smartphone while driving. These drivers take their attention away from the highway, putting you at risk of a car accident. But a bill currently pending in Michigan could make your travels safer.
The Michigan safety agency Transportation Improvement Association (TIA) recently pushed lawmakers to pass Senate Bill 288. The proposed law would only allow drivers to use hands-free mobile devices. The agency believes that if Michigan passes the bill, injuries and deaths from distracted driving will go down.
Statistics show distractions increase risk of injury and death
TIA measures safety data on Michigan roads. They first pushed for a hands-free bill in the state legislature in 2016. According to their research, between September 2016, and January 2020, there were 63,709 crashes from distracted driving. In these accidents, 228 people died while 24,190 suffered injury.
The safety agency cites these numbers as it pushes for lawmakers to pass a bill banning drivers from using smartphones.
Pending hands-free bill could reduce dangers of distracted driving
Currently, Senate Bill 228 is still pending. This bill would only allow drivers to use hands-free devices while driving. Punishments for violating the proposed law include fines between $125 and $250.
So far, 20 other states have passed similar laws. The agency points to statistics in California and Georgia. They show accidents caused by distracted driving and traffic deaths in general fell.
Until bill passes, you may still see drivers using phones
When other drivers focus on their phones instead of the road, they can increase your risk of severe injury or death. Punishing them for using phones could make your commute safer. But as lawmakers decide whether to pass the bill, you may still face distracted drivers on Michigan highways.