Michigan law enforcement officers prepare for handheld cellphone ban while driving

Starting June 30 in Michigan, it is illegal to use your phone while driving.
Starting June 30 in Michigan, it will be illegal to use your phone while driving.
Published: Jun. 16, 2023 at 4:27 PM EDT
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IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. (WLUC) - A new law impacting all Michigan drivers will take effect this summer.

The handheld cellphone bans while operating a vehicle are the latest attempt to remove distractions from the roads. Sending a text, making a phone call, or changing the song on your phone could take only a few seconds, but that is time spent with your eyes off of the road.

Starting June 30 in Michigan, it will be illegal to use your phone while driving.

“This is a new thing for Michigan. Our goal is to educate the public as to what the rules are. We are ultimately looking for voluntary compliance,” said Lt. Jeremy Hauswirth, Michigan State Police Iron Mountain post commander.

The previous law was vague, and the burden of proof for police made enforcing phone usage difficult. Now, if an officer sees you using your phone in any capacity on the road, you can be ticketed.

“The new law is going to make it a lot easier,” said Brian Polzien, Dickinson County Deputy sheriff. “Now, as law enforcement, we don’t have to prove or determine if somebody was sending a text, making a phone call or posting on social media or changing the song. It is now cut and dry. If they have a device in their hands, it is against the law.”

The hands-free driving law has already been in effect for school bus drivers and commercial vehicles. Both Hauswirth and Polzien hope this new law creates safer driving.

“Driving is a high-attention activity and anything that divides that attention is problematic,” Hauswirth said. “Anything that we can do that focuses people more on the road and less on something else is better.”

Both officers say most cars have some Bluetooth capability. They encourage all drivers to educate themselves about what hands-free technology their car is equipped with.