These days, drivers are faced with an abundance of distractions that can take focus away from the road. Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of serious and fatal car accidents in the United States today. In Michigan, texting behind the wheel is illegal, but laws do not specify other types of mobile device usage. According to a new proposal, that could be about to change.

House Bill 4277

Recently, a new bill cleared the state’s House Judiciary Committee that will expand on current distracted driving laws. As of today, Michigan’s distracted driving laws only address texting while driving. But the new proposal, known as House Bill 4277, will prohibit the use of a mobile device while driving a motor vehicle. This prohibited usage also includes accessing social media sites, recording video or listening to music or sound while wearing headphones behind the wheel.

Reducing distracted driving

The goal of the new bill is to reduce distracted driving on Michigan’s increasingly crowded roadways. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2019 there were 64 crashes in Michigan caused by distracted driving, which led to 71 total fatalities. A spokesperson for AAA Michigan added that just five seconds of scrolling social media or streaming video is equivalent to driving the length of a football field while blindfolded.

Advocates of the new bill say it will save countless lives. Distracted driving is one of the most dangerous things a person can do. Drivers should put phones and other electronic devices away and out of sight when behind the wheel. Unfortunately, there will always be those who choose to break laws and drive carelessly. Those in Michigan who suffer injuries or loss in car accidents caused by negligent drivers have the right to pursue damages by consulting a seasoned attorney and filing a lawsuit.