Michigan may be heading toward being hands-free in the car, making using your phone a distracted driving citation.
A bill introduced in the Michigan House would make it illegal for people to use their phones in the car. The exceptions are if a car is bluetooth capable or if a phone is mounted on a dashboard.
“I’m not for it, but I’m also not against it,” said John Stressman, the chief of police in Mason.
Stressman called the bill “just another tool in the arsenal” for law enforcement. However, Stressman said that it will be hard to prove someone was using their cell-phone during a stop.
“It’s more likely to cite someone for something else such as not using their turn signal or cutting someone off.” said Stressman.
“An officer has to have probable cause to pull someone over. To cite someone for distracted driving while using their cell-phone would be very hard to prove unless the officer saw something,” said Stressman.
John Voss, a Mason resident, said calling hands-free is a great idea.
“But, for older vehicles, some don’t have the hands-free capability.” said Voss.
“When I see someone that changes speed a lot or is swerving, and I pass them on the expressway to see them on their phone, it annoys me. Especially semi-truck drivers. Those people are certified!” said Voss.
Voss said that even if a car is hands-free, the drive can still be distracted.
“If a car has OnStar or a bluetooth system, and I call someone, I’m almost as distracted as if I had a phone to my ear,” said Voss, “If I’m entranced in a conversation, I probably won’t pay attention to the road nearly as much as if I wasn’t.”
“It’s scary for my family, especially when my 2-year-old child is in the car.” said Melissa Seeger, a Mason resident.
Seeger said that when her husband’s phone goes off in the car, she grabs it and answers texts for him whenever he’s at the wheel.
“In my own car, I have to have my bluetooth headset in and connected to my phone, and that can be super distracting. It’s hard to deal with something like that when I have an older vehicle, one without an OnStar system or the like.” said Seeger.
The bill, HB-4466, was introduced by the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure in the Mich. House of Representatives.