Drivers may notice an increased police presence on roadways this month. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), America’s leading nonprofit safety advocate, April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
Michigan State Police, along with several other agencies are taking to Michigan streets beginning April 7 to curb instances of distracted driving. Thursday’s initiative, “Connect to Disconnect,” is part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)’s national media campaign, “U Drive. U Text. U Pay” that continues until April 11.
Officers are expected to issue tickets to drivers disobeying state or local cell phone and/or texting bans. In Michigan, drivers caught texting will pay. Since July 1, 2010, motorists have been fined $100 for their first offense and $200 for subsequent offense(s).
With increased use and reliance on technology, drivers may be tempted to respond to text messages, phone calls, emails or social media. The Michigan State Police and its reporting partners report that in 2020, there were 14,236 vehicle collisions in Michigan due to a distracted driver, with 2,394 crashes attributed to drivers utilizing a cell phone.
Although smartphones can be the cause of a motor vehicle accident, there are various other ways a motorist may lose focus. Drivers should be mindful to not take their eyes off the road, hands off the wheel or mind off the drive itself. Changing radio stations, looking at billboards, talking to passengers, eating and grooming are additional disruptions that could result in tragic consequences. A few tips to minimize or avoid distracted driving include:
- Limit cell phone use to emergency situations only;
- If you have passengers, designate someone to respond to texts or change radio stations;
- Adjust seat and mirrors while vehicle is parked;
- Plan the route and implement GPS prior to leaving;
- Avoid driving while drowsy or upset
For more information on distracted driving, or to join NSC’s “Just Drive Pledge” click here.
Kimberly K. Seibert serves as Co-leader of Plunkett Cooney's Transportation Law Practice Group. She focuses her practice in the areas of motor vehicle negligence and no-fault law, routinely defending insurers, rental car ...
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