Michigan lawmakers trying to crack down on distracted driving

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State Senator and Former Secretary of State Ruth Johnson teamed up with Oakland County Sheriff Michael J. Bouchard to announce a new bill to ban using all portable electronic devices while driving unless they are being used by the driver in a “hands-free” manner.

“Every life lost to distracted driving is a tragedy because it is 100 percent preventable,” said Johnson, R-Holly.

Johnson’s bill would expand the state’s current texting-while-driving ban.

According to the Michigan State Police, there were in 20,115 crashes in Michigan involving distracted driving in 2017 and resulted in 72 deaths.

“This is a growing problem,” said Bouchard. “New technology can improve our lives, but motorists need to remember that their primary focus needs to be on driving their vehicle safely when they are on the road.”

Senate Bill 288 would prohibit a driver from holding or using a portable electronic device on a highway or street in Michigan.

Michigan would join 18 other states that have already passed ‘hands-free’ driving laws. 

Johnson was joined by three parents who had lost their children to accidents involving distracted drivers including Ally Zimmerman, a 16-year-old high school student who was hit by a distracted driver and later died from her injuries.

“My daughter, Ally, lost her life in 2011 due to a distracted driver,” said Ally’s mother, Laurel Zimmerman. “Too many families have lost a loved one due to distracted driving. Ally was passionate about helping others and would want this bill passed.”

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