Gov. Whitmer signs distracted driving bill ahead of summer

Things like texting, watching media, and handheld talking on the phone will now be illegal across the state.
More than 1,100 people died on Michigan roads in 2022. Lawmakers hope the new law will lower that number.
Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 9:16 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 7, 2023 at 6:28 PM EDT
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PLYMOUTH, Mich. (WILX) - Wednesday Governor Gretchen Whitmer was in Plymouth to sign legislation to prevent distracted driving to keep roads and Michiganders safe. The bills will make using mobile phones while driving illegal.

Background: Michigan considering hands-free driving law

Distracted driving prevention has been a priority of Gov. Whitmer since she was sworn into office for her first term.

The backdrop for the signing was the Mitchel Kiefer Memorial Rink in Plymouth. Mitchel Kiefer was a hockey player from Detroit Catholic Central who lost his life to a distracted driver in 2016 on his way to Michigan State University. His father created a foundation in his son’s name with the goal of ending distracted driving. Now that goal is realized in the state where his son passed away.

“It’s a huge victory and a huge emotional victory for our family as well,” Steve Kiefer, Founder and Chairman of The Kiefer Foundation tells News 10.

The ice arena Mitchel Kiefer played at was renamed in his honor after his death. Whitmer signed the three bills into law at the Mitchel Kiefer Memorial Rink.

“You can’t help but get teary just looking at this young life cut short by a distracted driver. A freshmen at Michigan State University, an all-around great guy, you can see all his teammates signed his hockey pads instead of a book at his funeral,” Whitmer said. “And to see a family who turns their pain into a cause to protect other people is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen as a public servant.”

Things like texting, watching media, and handheld talking on the phone will now be illegal across the state. The laws will take effect June 30 and will bring a $100 fine for first-time offenders. A second offense brings a fine of $250.

These laws will be being enforced as early as July and police will be focusing on them over the 4th of July weekend

Gov. Whitmer, joined by families who have lost loved ones in vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers, signs legislation to keep drivers safe.

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