Have you been injured? you may have a case. GET A FREE CONSULTATION

Consequences Of Distracted Driving Explained

June 3, 2022 by Steven M. Gursten

Consequences Of Distracted Driving

The consequences of distracted driving if you violate Michigan’s texting while driving law is generally a “civil infraction” and a $100 fine – with no points on your driver’s license. However, if you cause a crash that injures or kills someone, you may face jail time, a large fine and points on your driver license, as well as civil liability for any injuries you caused.

The civil consequences of distracted driving if you were at-fault for causing a distraction-related car crash that injures or kills someone include being sued in a car accident lawsuit for pain and suffering compensation or for wrongful death damages in the event that you caused a fatal crash. It can also include medical bills, both current and future as well as other significant economic loss damages and vehicle damage repair costs.

What are the consequences of distracted driving for adult Michigan drivers?

The consequences of distracted driving for an adult driver in Michigan who is using a hand-held “communication device” to text while driving is guilty of a “civil infraction” and is subject to a $100 fine for a first violation and $200 fines for subsequent violations. (MCL 257.602b(6)(a) and (b))

The fine for texting while driving or for using a cell phone while driving (if you are a teen driver, truck driver or school bus driver) is $100 for the first violation and $200 for subsequent violations. (MCL 257.602b(6)(a) and (b))

A texting driver (who is not a truck driver or a school bus driver) will incur no points on his or her driver’s license. (MCL 257.320a(2))

What about teen drivers in Michigan?

The consequences of distracted driving for a licensed teen driver in Michigan who texts on a hand-held phone while driving is guilty of a “civil infraction” with fines of $100-$200. A teen driver with a Level 1 or 2 graduated license who texts or talks on the phone while driving will have his or her driving restrictions increased. (MCL 257.602b(6)(a-b); 257.310e(7))

Under Michigan’s texting ban, all drivers – including teen drivers with a full driver’s license or Level 1 or Level 2 graduated licenses – are prohibited from using a hand-held “communication device” to text while driving. (MCL 257.602b(1))

Under Kelsey’s Law, teen drivers with a Level 1 or Level 2 graduated are prohibited from using a cell phone while driving, which means they cannot “initiate a call,” “answer a call” or “listen to or engage in verbal communication through the cellular telephone” while “operating a motor vehicle upon a highway or street.” (MCL 257.602c(1))

Michigan’s graduated licensing law provides that teen drivers with a Level 1 or Level 2 graduated license who commit a moving violation – such texting while driving or talking on the phone while driving – will have the length and conditions of their probationary driver’s privilege expanded and/or extended. (MCL 257.310e(7)(a))

What are the consequences of distracted driving for truck drivers and school bus drivers?

The consequences of distracted driving for truck drivers and school bus drivers who violate Michigan’s ban on texting and/or using a cell phone while driving are guilty of a “civil infraction” and subject to fine of $100 for a first violation and a $200 for subsequent violations. (MCL 257.602b(2),(3) and (6))

They will also get two (2) points on their driver’s license. (MCL 257.320a(1)(u))

Truck drivers and school bus drivers who have two (2) texting or cell phone violations within 36 months will have their license suspended for 60 days. Three (3) violations within 36 months results in a 120-day day suspension on top of the 60-day suspension. (MCL 257.319b(1)(a)(i) and (b)(i) and (10)(b)(ix))

Michigan has adopted the federal cell phone policy which imposes a $2,750 fine and other sanctions on truck drivers and school bus drivers who text and/or use a cell phone while driving a commercial vehicle or school bus. (MCL 480.11a(1)(b))

What are the consequences of distracted driving if someone is injured or killed?

The consequences of distracted driving are very serious if an auto accident occurs and someone is injured or killed. The consequences for the distracted driver may include: (1) a criminal conviction; (2) possible jail time; (3) fines; and (4) points on the driver’s license.

Specifically, the law provides the following penalties depending on the type of crash and the injuries that result:

  • A distracted driver who causes “the death of another person” is guilty of a misdemeanor and could be sent to jail for a year and/or ordered to pay a fine of $2,000. (MCL 257.601d(1))
  • A distracted driver who causes “serious impairment of a body function to another person” is guilty of a misdemeanor and could be sent to jail for up to 93 day and/or ordered to pay a fine of $500. (MCL 257.601d(2))
  • A distracted driver who causes “an at-fault collision with another vehicle, a person, or any other object” will get “4 points” on his or her driver’s license. (MCL 257.320a(1)(l))

A distracted driver includes any driver who is violating Michigan’s ban on texting while driving or any truck driver or school bus driver who is unlawfully using a cell phone while driving.

Should the penalties be the same as for drunk driving?

The consequences of distracted driving should match those for drunk driving, given that distracted driving is at least as dangerous as drunk driving. Like drunk drivers, distracted drivers should be faced with a misdemeanor conviction, possible jail time, expensive fines, points and driver license suspensions.

Texting drivers are 23 times more likely to crash. Similarly, drunk drivers with a BAC between .05 and .07 are 6 to 17 times more likely to be in a fatal crash.

Researchers at the University of Utah have also found that “people are as impaired when they drive and talk on a cell phone as they are when they drive intoxicated at the legal blood-alcohol limit.”

But despite these similarities in dangerousness, the consequences of distracted driving and drunk driving are not even close to similar.

Generally, the consequences for a distracted driver who violates Michigan’s texting ban faces only a mere “civil infraction” determination and a $100 fine. There is no possibility of jail time, points on the license, or the threat of losing his or her drivers license. (MCL 257.602b(1) and (6))

On the other hand, a drunk driver who violates Michigan DUI law faces the following severe (and reasonable given the risk to public safety that is involved) sanctions:

  • Being found guilty of a misdemeanor (MCL 257.625(9)(a))
  • Imprisonment for not more than 93 days (MCL 257.625(9)(a)(ii))
  • Community service for not more than 360 hours (MCL 257.625(9)(a)(i))
  • A fine between $100 and $500 (MCL 257.625(9)(a)(iii))
  • Six (6) points on his or her driver’s license (MCL 257.320a(1)(c))
  • A 180-day driver’s license suspension (for driving “under the influence” of alcohol or having a BAC of .08 or more)(MCL 257.319(8)(a))
  • A 1-year driver’s license suspension (for having a BAC of .17 or more)(MCL 257.319(8)(g))
  • A 1-year driver’s license suspension (for refusing to submit to a chemical test per MCL 257.625d)(MCL 257.625f(1)(a) and (7)(a))

Were you injured in a car accident by a negligent driver? Speak to an attorney at Michigan Auto Law first

If you have suffered a personal injury in a distracted driving car accident and you would like to speak with an experienced attorney about the consequences of distracted driving for the at-fault driver, your legal rights to pain and suffering compensation and/or No-Fault benefits, call toll free anytime 24/7 at (800) 777-0028 for a free consultation with one of our car accident attorneys. You can also get help from an experienced auto accident attorney by visiting our contact page or you can use the chat feature on our website. Steven Gursten is the current President of the American Association for Justice Distracted Driving Litigation Group. He lectures and teaches auto accident attorneys throughout the nation on what distracted driving is and on how to obtain evidence of distracted driving in their own cases. Steve has spoken at national lectures, seminars, conferences and webinars on the subject of distracted driving evidence and discovery. Also, Steve speaks to high school students and parent groups throughout Michigan as part of Joel Feldman’s End Distracted Driving Campaign school and parent presentations.

(Source: Virginia Tech Transportation Institute; MADD, Studies on the Effectiveness of .05 BAC, citing a study by the National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB; The University of Utah, “Drivers on Cell Phones Are as Bad as Drunks”))

Consequences Of Distracted Driving Explained

[Community Guidelines]

Related Posts
The Dangers Of Distracted Driving
Dangers Of Distracted Driving Explained
June 29, 2022
Michigan Distracted Driving Laws: What You Need To Know
Michigan Distracted Driving Laws: What You Need To Know
June 21, 2022
Michigan Electric Skateboard Laws: What You Need To Know
June 9, 2022
2 Shares
Share
Tweet1
Share
Pin1
Email