Bill would increase penalties for using smartphone while driving

LANSING, Mich. — It is illegal to text and drive, but a state lawmaker wants to make it illegal to use your phone at all while driving, if not in the hands-free mode.

Rep. Martin Howrylak introduced House Bill 4466, which would ban drivers from using Facebook, Twitter, and other mobile applications behind the wheel.

Violators would face a $200 and points on their driver's license.

Statistics show drivers are more than four times likely to get into a crash while using a hand-held device.

Parents of West Michigan teen Jacob Freybler, who was killed in a car crash in 2014 because he was texting, are fighting to get the legislation passed.

"It’s costing lives… and if we can save one or two lives in our son’s place then we’ve done our job," Jim Freybler, the teen's father, told FOX 17 in April.

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4 comments

  • steve

    Great idea. Now, try to enforce it. The cops either will not or cannot prove the use unless the offender is right next to them. The impact of phone use while driving seems clear, but trying to stop it would be a rarity.

  • Michael

    How about closing the loopholes in the law? Currently it prohibits texting from a device located in your hand or lap.

    I once took a crash where the driver was reading a text while the phone was in the door pocket. Since the phone wasn’t in her hand or lap it wasn’t texting and driving.

    I also took a crash where the driver was stopped at a red light texting. When the light turned green she immediately started accelerating running over the person in the crosswalk right in front of her. Since the law requires the vehicle to be in motion for texting and driving the driver, once again, wasn’t texting and driving.

    While there’s other laws that apply to the above situations making the texting law stricter doesn’t help if the officers can’t use it.