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Michigan’s New Distracted Driving Law: What You Need to Know

By Lindsey A. DiCesare posted 06-26-2023 14:50


This blog was authored by Madelaine Lane from Warner Norcross + Judd LLP in Grand Rapids. 

Starting June 30, 2023, Michigan drivers will be banned from holding and, in many cases, using a mobile device while operating a motor vehicle. Drivers who violate the prohibition will face fines and mandatory community service hours. Michigan’s newest distracted driving law expands on the 2010 no texting while driving law and significantly increases prohibited activities while a driver is operating a motor vehicle.

What activities are banned?

Beginning on June 30, 2023, Michigan drivers are prohibited from using, or even holding, a mobile electronic device—like a cell phone—while operating a motor vehicle. This includes using a phone to send or receive texts, record videos, or access social media. In addition, drivers are banned from using these devices at all times when the car is being operated—even if their cars are stopped at a stop sign or traffic light.

Commercial motor vehicle and school bus drivers face the same restrictions. In addition, they are banned from even reaching for a mobile electronic device if it will cause the driver to move out of their seat. Finally, drivers with a level 1 or 2 graduated license will be prohibited from using a cell phone to communicate unless they are reporting an emergency, accident, or hazard or their safety is otherwise at risk.

What are the exceptions?

  • Drivers may use a device’s GPS function as long as the information is not entered by hand.
  • All drivers, except those with a level 1 or 2 graduated license, may use their device in hands-free modes as long as they only tap, push, or swipe on their phones once to turn on the hands-free setting.
  • All drivers may use a device for emergency purposes, such as calling 911.
  • Law enforcement officers, firefighters, and other emergency personnel may use their phones in the performance of their duties.

What are the penalties?

First-time offenders will face a civil infraction that includes a $100 fine and/or 16 hours of community service, and they will have one point added to their driving record. The penalties increase for subsequent violations. Third-time offenders may be required to complete a basic driver improvement course. Commercial motor vehicle and school bus drivers face harsher fines and community service requirements.

In addition, this infraction will be considered a “serious traffic violation” for these drivers. If a driver accumulates two serious traffic violations in a 3-year period, their license will be suspended for 60 days. If they have three of these violations in a 3-year period, they will face an additional 120-day suspension.

This article is reprinted with permission from Warner Norcross + Judd, LLP. This article is not intended as legal advice. For additional information, please contact the author of this article, Warner Norcross + Judd, LLP, partner Madelaine C. Lane at