April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month
During April, law enforcement officers will be stepping up patrols for motorists who text while driving. The national U Drive. U Text. U Pay high-visibility enforcement campaign has two goals: conduct enforcement of anti-texting laws and advertise these efforts with media and social media outreach to make drivers aware of the enforcement and encourage them to obey the law.
“Driving and texting is not only dangerous and irresponsible-it’s illegal,” said Chief Doreen Olko. “Drivers who break our state’s texting law will be stopped and cited”
Texting while driving is especially dangerous because it involves three main types of distraction:
- Visual: taking your eyes off the road
- Manual: taking your hands off the wheel
- Cognitive: taking your mind off the task of driving
Michigan’s texting law prohibits drivers from reading, manually typing or sending a text message while driving. Violating the texting law may be costly. Drivers convicted of a first offense may be fined $100 with subsequent offenses of $200.
Distracted driving statistics paint a grim picture: In 2016, an estimated 3,450 people were killed nationwide in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Distracted driving crashes made up 9.2 percent of all fatal crashes in 2016.
In Michigan, distracted driving accounted for 12,788 crashes in 2016. Those crashes resulted in 43 fatalities and 5,103 injuries, according to the Michigan State Police Criminal Justice Information Center.
Lt. Ryan Gagnon
Auburn Hills Police Department