Consequences of Texting and Driving in Michigan
Dec. 17, 2021
The bottom line is that texting while driving is illegal in Michigan. State law defines texting as reading, typing, or sending a text message while driving. A driver caught texting while driving; drivers can be fined $100 for a first offense and $200 for a second or subsequent offense. The Michigan District court will also add costs in many circumstances that will substantially run up the bill for your punishment.
Texting while driving can also result in points on your driver’s license in Michigan. A texting driver who causes “an at-fault collision with another vehicle, a person, or any other object” will get “4 points” on his or her driver's license.
Driver distractions or inattention are a leading factor in the cause of accidents. At the scene of an accident one of the first questions an officer will ask is whether or not you were you on your phone. The officer will also question driver about your alcohol or drug consumption. Any driver admission about drug or alcohol use will most likely result in a preliminary breath test and field sobriety tests. Ultimately, distracted driving could result in much more serious charge of drunk driving or felony drunk driving causing serious injury.
Texting and driving is considered dangerous for the obvious reason that your eyes are being taken of the road. Eyes need to be focused on the road at all times. I recently had a trucking accident case in Holland Michigan, Ottawa County, where the semi-truck driver pulled out into traffic to make a left turn. Although the semi truck driver saw traffic coming toward him in the distance, he assumed that the oncoming vehicle would see his big rig and slow down. Unfortunely, the driver of the other vehicle was distracted by looking down at technology thereby taking his eyes off the road. In that case, a high impact crash occurred that resulted in injuries.
Distracted driving is not limited to texting. Although texting and driving seems to encompass all the problems associated with distracted driving, there are many activities that cause a driver to be distracted. For instance, a driver could be distracted by eating, smoking or drinking. I had a client injured by a distracted driver that was reaching into the back seat to discipline children. This caused that driver cross the center line and hit my client. This was a severe accident on a 2 lane road. Western Michigan including Ottawa County has numerous 2 lane rural roads with 55mph speed limits. Thus, a single distraction can lead to serious high speed collision.
I recently had a client that was injured in an accident in Holland, Michigan by a distracted driver. This driver was in the process of changing the radio station in his car. In that case, my client was rear ended while stopped and waiting to make a left hand turn. This driver took his eyes of the road and the result was a high impact collision with no braking.
In Michigan, and other states, the main dangers of texting and driving include, taking your eyes off the road, taking your hands off the wheel, and taking your concentration off the drive. When it involves a serious crash in Michigan, it is not difficult for the prosecutor to subpoena your phone records. Your phone records will show the exact time and text message. This can prove that at the time of the accident you were distracted by use of the device.
Michigan No Fault and texting and Driving
In the case of an accident, the Michigan No Fault Law will control payment of claims. Under the Michigan No Fault Act, a person can sue for pain and suffering if they are seriously injured by an at fault driver. A subpoena for your phone records can be extremely incriminating in the case of a serious accident. The information obtained in these phone records can used to prove that a driver was negligent and at fault in an accident. This could result in the distracted driver being liable for pain and suffering caused to a person seriously injured in the accident. Additionally, if a driver makes false claims or lies about using their phone at the time of the accident, their credibility will be impeached concerning liability.
The best course is to avoid temptation while you are driving your car. You can put your phone in a secure location away from your reach in the car. Anytime you have need to send a text or make phone find a good safe place to stop and make your call. Plan your stops to give yourself ample opportunity to make your necessary calls. In general, you should not eat or smoke while driving a vehicle. Do not allow your pets to run all over the car. These are all common sense measures to help drivers avoid distractions while driving.
Basically, using phone or driving distracted in dangerous. We live in a world of multi tasking. As a society we move at lighting speeds. However, when driving, one small distraction can change your life. There is not text that is worth a life or your freedom. If you have to be on your technology, take a ride service.