April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Advancements in smart phones and automotive technology present drivers with an increasing variety of impressive entertainment and communication options, but it’s important to remember to keep your eyes on the road. A recent AAA Consumer Pulse Survey reported that 95% of Michigan drivers listed texting and driving as their primary safety concern. With nearly 80% of automobile accidents involving some sort of distraction, and texting increasing the likelihood of an accident 23%, the concerns aren’t unfounded. Texting isn’t the only dangerous distraction. Drivers reaching for phones to answer calls, using navigation, or streaming music on their phones take valuable attention away from traffic. Texting and phone use while driving is so dangerous, that it makes drivers six times more likely to be involved in an accident that drunk driving.
In response to the growing risk, Michigan State Police announced that they will be actively patrolling streets and highways in unmarked units to enforce the ban on texting and driving. Originally passed in 2010, Michigan law prohibits the use of a cellular phone or two-way communication device for reading, typing or sending text messages while operating a motor vehicle, even when you’re waiting in traffic or at a stop light. Reaching for your phone or mobile device in a way that takes your body out of the standard driving position while secured in a seatbelt will also garner a citation. The first offense carries a fine of $100, with subsequent violations carrying a fine of $200. To help you reduce dangerous phone use while driving, the AAA advises drivers to ask friends and family not to call or text during morning or evening commute hours. If you are expecting an important call or text, delegate phone use to a passenger to stay safely connected. Silencing your phone or turning it completely off eliminates alerts that may tempt you to text and drive.
It’s tempting to become comfortable operating mobile devices behind the wheel, but the distraction can be deadly. Nationally, texting and driving is responsible for 6,000 deaths and 500,000 injuries each year. In Michigan, one of every ten deaths is caused by texting while driving. One split-second decision can drastically change your life or endanger the lives of others. At Harris Law, you will find responsive, personal representation for all of your family, probate or criminal law needs. Call 231.347.4444 or fill out the free consultation form in the sidebar to get the advice you need from someone you can trust.