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Drivers often crash because of distracted driving

Like those living elsewhere in the country, residents of St. Clair Shores sometimes get into collisions. Many of those car accidents are due to distracted driving. Indeed, according to official statistics from the Michigan State Police Criminal Justice Information Center (CJIC), during 2015, there were 7,516 crashes in the state that involved distracted driving.

The CJIC affirms that cellphone usage played a part in 753 of those crashes, which resulted in 377 injuries and a trio of fatalities. Of course, in addition to talking on their phones, a lot of people also use them for texting. That activity is possibly even more dangerous behind the wheel since it means that drivers focus on typing and reading messages.

The Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) conducted a statewide telephone survey in 2016 about texting and driving. The results showed that 41 percent of Michigan's young adult drivers send and read emails and texts while driving, with more than 26 percent of them doing so daily.

Michigan law prohibits drivers from manually typing, reading or sending texts while driving, which is legally defined as operating motor vehicle on highways or streets.

Drivers can incur $100 fines for first offenses and $200 fines for second offenses. The only exception to the texting and driving law is if the driver is texting to report a crash, a crime or another emergency.

Driving while talking on a cell phone can also result in drivers incurring fines. Specifically, those who hold Level 1 and Level 2 licenses under the Graduated Driver Licensing Program are prohibited from using cellphones when driving.

By refraining from using cellphones or other devices that distract their attention from the road, drivers can maximize their safety. Just as importantly, they can protect their passengers, people in other cars, pedestrians and cyclists, while avoiding the legal trouble that comes from causing a car accident.

Source: Michigan State Police, "Distracted Driving Enforcement Fact sheet - 2017 data," accessed Aug. 18, 2017

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