Michigan’s Cellphone-Use & Texting-While-Driving Laws

Read about Michigan’s distracted driving laws and the costs of a violation.

Michigan’s distracted driving laws prohibit text messaging for all drivers and talking on a cellphone for only certain drivers. This article discusses the specifics of what the laws prohibit and the costs of a texting or cellphone ticket.

Talking on a Cellphone

For most Michigan motorists, there are no restrictions on talking on a cellphone while driving.

However, for motorists who are using a level I or II graduated license (typically, drivers under age 17) talking on a cellphone while driving is prohibited except when using a voice-operated system that’s integrated into the vehicle.

And for anyone operating a commercial vehicle or school bus, talking on the phone while driving is generally prohibited except when using hands-free technology.

Cellphone ban exceptions. The cellphone bans have a number of exceptions. These include using a device to report:

  • a traffic accident, medical emergency, or serious road hazard
  • a situation in which the person believes his or her safety is in jeopardy, or
  • the perpetration or potential perpetration of a crime against a person.

And the cellphone ban doesn’t apply to police, firefighters, and emergency services personnel carrying out official duties.

Fines and points for violations for graduated license violations. A graduated license cellphone ticket is a civil infraction. Typically, a civil infraction carries fines up to $100. But court costs can increase the amount the driver has to actually pay. However, the violation won’t add demerit points to the underage driver’s record.

Fines and points for commercial and school bus violations. Commercial and school bus drivers who violate the cellphone law will be looking at $100 for a first violation and $200 for a second or subsequent violation. (Court costs can increase the amount the driver has to actually pay.) The violation will also add two points to the person’s driving record.

Texting Messaging

For all Michigan drivers, it’s illegal to use a wireless communication device that's located in the driver’s hand or lap to read, write, or send a text message.

Exceptions. The texting-while-driving law contains exceptions for:

  • reporting a traffic accident, medical emergency, or serious road hazard
  • reporting a situation in which the person believes his or her safety is in jeopardy
  • reporting the perpetration or potential perpetration of a crime against a person, and
  • using a GPS or navigation system that’s affixed to the vehicle.

Fines and points. Texting tickets will run the driver $100 for a first violation and $200 for a second or subsequent violation. (Court costs can increase the amount the driver has to actually pay.) For most drivers, a texting violation won’t lead to demerit points. But for commercial and school bus drivers, a texting ticket will add two points to their driver record.

Other Possible Charges

Depending on the circumstances, a texting or cellphone violation could also lead to a reckless driving conviction. And if one of these violations results in the death of another person, vehicular homicide charges are a possibility.

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