GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Michigan State Senate was busy with a flurry of legislation Wednesday, including a set of bills designed to help drivers focus on the road instead of their phone.
The Senate had a full slate of bills to be considered. Many were bills to begin the appropriations process where they expressed their priorities. The House did the same. The two sides will swap those bills and begin negotiations.
In addition, three original House bills passed the Senate after being amended.
Those bills are aimed at getting that cellphone out of your hands while you are driving. Only hands-free calls would be permitted but many other uses would become a reason for being stopped and ticketed: sending or receiving a telephone call while holding the device, sending, receiving, or reading a text message, viewing, recording, or transmitting a video and accessing, reading, or posting to a social media site.
The bills would also include reaching for a mobile electronic device in a manner that requires a driver to move around so he or she is no longer in a seated driving position or restrained by a seatbelt.
You can still make a hands-free call using your phone if it is in a holder that you can access with a single touch, tap or swipe. You can also use your car’s interface, if so equipped, for hands-free calling.
Your phone’s GPS feature can still be used, but you cannot program while you are driving unless you can do it by voice command. You cannot type in an address while driving. You can also use your phone for continuous recording, again, if you are not holding it.
Michigan will join at least two dozen other states that will make it a primary offense to be driving down the road with a cellphone pressed to your ear or in your lap as you look down at a text message.
When the bills are finally approved, which is expected, they would take go into effect as early as the end June.
The bills were passed by the House but then amended in the Senate, so the House will need to concur with the changes.