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April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Modern cell phones are full of conveniences, like texting and instant messaging apps, hands-free calling, and GPS navigation. But with all that power comes the responsibility to use your phone responsibly, especially behind the wheel. April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, designed to keep your eyes on the road and off of your phone.

American drivers are more attached to our phones than ever. We use them for everything from social connection to step-by-step navigation. But when we get behind the wheel, that constant connection becomes a liability, which could cost us our lives.

Distracted driving caused 7,000 motor vehicle accidents in Michigan alone last year. 26 people died and another 3,400 were injured because someone’s mind not on the road. Those numbers are up from 2014.

The problem isn’t going anywhere on its own. That’s why the National Safety Council has designated April National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

Distracted Driving in Michigan

Distracted driving is illegal in Michigan. The law prohibits:

  • Reaching for a cell phone;
  • Making a call while holding a cell phone with one or both hands;
  • Dialing the phone, pressing more than one button; or
  • Reading, typing, or sending text messages or other 2-way communications.

It applies any time the vehicle is in motion. Motorists who violate the Michigan Distracted Driving Law can be fined $100 for a first offense or $200 for a subsequent offense.

Distracted Driving is More than Texting

Michigan law doesn’t cover all the ways drivers can be distracted behind the wheel. It includes anything that takes your eyes of the road, your hands off the wheel, or your mind off of the task of driving. Common forms of distracted driving include:

  • Eating or drinking;
  • Putting on makeup;
  • Reading;
  • Talking on the phone or to passengers; and of course
  • Texting or instant messaging.

Take the Distracted Driving Pledge

As law enforcement agencies ramp up enforcement of local distracted driving laws, advocates focus on prevention. The National Safety Council is encouraging drivers to take a pledge against all forms of distracted driving:

I pledge to Take Back My Drive for my own safety and for others with whom I share the roads. I choose to not drive distracted in any way – I will not:

  • Have a phone conversation – handheld, hands-free, or via Bluetooth
  • Text or send Snapchats
  • Use voice-to-text features in my vehicle’s dashboard system
  • Update Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vimeo, Vine or other social media
  • Check or send emails
  • Take selfies or film videos
  • Input destinations into GPS (while the vehicle is in motion)
  • Call or message someone else when I know they are driving

You can join in by taking the pledge and spreading the word at work, at home, and on social media. Commit to put the phone away. It could save your life.

David Christensen is an auto accident attorney at Christensen Law in Southfield, Michigan. He represents the victims of distracted driving car crashes. If you have been seriously injured in an auto accident, contact Christensen Law today for a free consultation.