Michigan Text Messaging and Cell Phone Laws

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Except for novice drivers, there is no prohibition on cell phone use while driving in Michigan. (Texting is banned, however.) Laws prohibiting handheld cellphones have been introduced into the Michigan legislature and have not passed. As with many states that have no cell phone prohibitions, a driver who becomes distracted by using a cell phone, and commits a traffic violation can be charged with careless driving. Michigan allows localities to determine their own cell-phone driving laws -- for example, the city of Detroit prohibits handheld cell phone use while driving. Municipalities that have enacted local ordinances post notification at their jurisdictional boundaries to alert motorists.

Cell Phone Use

Except for Detroit (see above) there is no handheld cell phone prohibition for drivers, however, teens with probationary licenses whose cell phone usage contributes to a traffic crash or ticket may not use a cell phone while driving.

Texting Laws

All Michigan drivers are prohibited from texting while driving. Under Michigan's anti-texting law (sec. 257.602.b) a driver shall not "read, manually type, or send a text message on a wireless 2-way communication device that is located in the person's hand or in the person's lap, including a wireless telephone used in cellular telephone service or personal communication service, while operating a motor vehicle that is moving on a highway or street in this state."The exceptions include drivers who

  • Report a traffic accident, medical emergency, or serious road hazard.
  • Report a situation in which the person believes his or her personal safety is in jeopardy.
  • Report or avert the perpetration or potential perpetration of a criminal act against the individual or another person.
  • Carry out official duties as a police officer, law enforcement official, member of a paid or volunteer fire department, or operator of an emergency vehicle.

Bus Drivers

Bus drivers are prohibited from texting while driving.

How is it Enforced?

Fines for texting are $100 for a first offense and $200 for subsequent offenses. Michigan’s texting law is considered a “primary” law. A primary law means that an officer can pull you over for the offense without having to witness some other violation. That is, the officer sees you texting and issues a citation.

Other Michigan Related Information

Follow the links below for additional information covering Michigan driving laws on this website.

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