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Your Phone and Driving in Michigan Laws Explained

On June 30, 2023, the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code was amended, making it illegal to hold or use a mobile electronic device while operating a vehicle. MCL 257.602b

Is it illegal to use your phone while driving in Michigan?

The law prohibits holding your phone and defines “hold” as physically supporting the device with your hands, arms, or shoulders. MCL 257.602b(12)(a)

A Mobile Electronic Device has been defined as an electronic device not permanently installed in the car. The statute goes on to say this would include but is not limited to a device that can send a text message, voice communication, entertainment, navigation, internet access, or sending an email. MCL 257.602b(12)(b)

This is an incredibly broad definition and would not only include a phone, but anything from a Nintendo switch to a Garmin mapping system.

The statute does exclude medical devices like an insulin pump or radio equipment.

Remember, for these laws to apply to you then you would have to be the operator of the vehicle. “Operate” is defined as driving, or assuming physical control of the vehicle. This includes even while being stopped on the road due to traffic, road conditions, a stopped at a sign or red light.

If the car is legally parked, you are not considered to be operating. If you are in park you are allowed to use electronic devices.

What is the punishment for using your phone while driving?

The punishment for using your phone while driving is a civil infraction MCL 257.602b(5)

Exceptions to Michigan’s phone and driving law

Emergency responders such as police and EMS are permitted to use electronic devices as long as the use is for the purpose of doing their job.

If you are using your device to contact 9-1-1 in order to report an emergency, or criminal behavior it is permitted.

If you are using the device for navigation but are not entering information by hand that is permitted.

The use of an electronic device in a hands-free or voice-operated mode is permissible.


Michigan Criminal and Traffic Lawyer

Using a cellphone or other electronic device while driving gives a police officer an excuse to stop you and pull you over which can lead to an arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or could lead to a search of your vehicle and an arrest for any illegal activity discovered. 

If you have been charged with a crime contact criminal defense lawyer, Aaron J. Boria today at (734) 453-7806. We fight for our clients and get results!