Traffic Safety Laws & Info

Did you know distracted driving causes numerous accidents and injures each year that could have been prevented? Distracted drivers are 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident and more than 330,000 people are injured every year as a result. In particular, texting and driving and other needless distractions kill an average of 11 teens each day. No text is worth the risk - it can wait!

City of Southfield Cell Phone Ordinance


SUBCHAPTER I. - HAND-HELD PHONES Sec. 10.1101. - Using a hand-held phone while committing a traffic offense. It shall be unlawful for any person to commit a traffic offense while operating a motor vehicle on any highway, or other place open to the general public including an area designated for the parking of vehicles, while using a hand-held phone. A person who violates this section is responsible for a civil infraction and may be penalized as provided for in section 10.907.
(Ord. No. 1553, § 1, 10-9-07)

State of Michigan Vehicle Codes and Traffic/Driving Laws


MICHIGAN VEHICLE CODE (EXCERPT) Act 300 of 1949
257.602b Reading, typing, or sending text message on wireless 2-way communication device prohibited; exceptions; violation as civil infraction; fine; local ordinances superseded.
    Sec. 602b. (1) Except as otherwise provided in this section, a person shall not read, manually type, or send a text message on a wireless 2-way communication device that is located in the person's hand or in the person's lap, including a wireless telephone used in cellular telephone service or personal communication service, while operating a motor vehicle that is moving on a highway or street in this state. As used in this subsection, a wireless 2-way communication device does not include a global positioning or navigation system that is affixed to the motor vehicle. Beginning October 28, 2013, this subsection does not apply to a person operating a commercial vehicle.
    (2) Except as otherwise provided in this section, a person shall not read, manually type, or send a text message on a wireless 2-way communication device that is located in the person's hand or in the person's lap, including a wireless telephone used in cellular telephone service or personal communication service, while operating a commercial motor vehicle on a highway or street in this state. As used in this subsection, a wireless 2-way communication device does not include a global positioning or navigation system that is affixed to the commercial motor vehicle. This subsection applies beginning October 28, 2013.
    (3) Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply to an individual who is using a device described in subsection (1) to do any of the following:
    (a) Report a traffic accident, medical emergency, or serious road hazard.
    (b) Report a situation in which the person believes his or her personal safety is in jeopardy.
    (c) Report or avert the perpetration or potential perpetration of a criminal act against the individual or another person.
    (d) Carry out official duties as a police officer, law enforcement official, member of a paid or volunteer fire department, or operator of an emergency vehicle.
    (4) An individual who violates this section is responsible for a civil infraction and shall be ordered to pay a civil fine as follows:
    (a) For a first violation, $100.00.
    (b) For a second or subsequent violation, $200.00.
    (5) This section supersedes all local ordinances regulating the use of a communications device while operating a motor vehicle in motion on a highway or street, except that a unit of local government may adopt an ordinance or enforce an existing ordinance substantially corresponding to this section.
History: Add. 2010, Act 60, Eff. July 1, 2010;-Am. 2011, Act 159, Imd. Eff. Sept. 30, 2011.

Michigan's Seat Belt Law
The State of Michigan has a primary seat belt law, which means law enforcement can stop and ticket motorists solely for not being buckled up. The law requires:
  • Passengers 8-15 to buckle up in all seating positions
  • Drivers and front seat passengers to be buckled up
Michigan's child passenger safety law requires:
  • Children younger than age 4 to ride in a car seat in the rear seat if the vehicle has a rear seat. If all available rear seats are occupied by children under 4, then a child under 4 may ride in a car seat in the front seat. A child in a rear-facing car seat may only ride in the front seat if the airbag is turned off.
  • Children to be properly buckled in a car seat or booster seat until they are 8 years old or 4-feet-9-inches tall. Children must ride in a seat until they reach the age requirement or the height requirement, whichever comes first.
Copyright © 2012 State of Michigan

Aggressive Driving
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines aggressive driving as "when individuals commit a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property."

The exact number of traffic crashes caused by aggressive drivers is unknown, but NHTSA has estimated 66 percent of all traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving behaviors.
Some behaviors considered aggressive include:
  • Exceeding the posted speed limit
  • Following too closely
  • Erratic or unsafe lane changes
  • Improperly signaling lane changes
  • Failure to obey traffic control devices (stop signs, yield signs, traffic signals, railroad grade cross signals, etc.)
  • Red light running
Road rage is sometimes confused with aggressive driving. While aggressive driving may lead to road rage, the two are different because aggressive driving is a traffic offense while road rage is a criminal offense. Road rage is defined by NHTSA as "an assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator or passenger(s) of one motor vehicle on the operator or passenger(s) of another motor vehicle or is caused by an incident that occurred on a roadway."

If confronted by an aggressive driver, motorists should attempt to get out of the way of the aggressive driver, avoiding eye contact and ignoring gestures or verbal attacks. If safe to do so, call the police and report the aggressive driver. Also, if an aggressive driver is involved in a crash farther down the road, stop a safe distance from the crash scene, wait for the police to arrive and report the driving behavior witnessed.

For more information on aggressive driving, visit these Web sites:

Copyright © 2012 State of Michigan

Distracted Driving
Driver inattention is the leading factor in most crashes and near-crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI).

Driving is a visual task and non-driving activities that draw the driver's eyes away from the roadway should always be avoided. As of July 1, 2010, Michigan law will prohibit texting while driving.  For a first offense, motorists will be fined $100.  Subsequent offenses will be $200.

There are three main types of distraction:
  • Visual - taking your eyes off the road
  • Manual - taking you hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive - taking your mind off what you're doing
Distracting activities include:
  • Using a cell phone and/or texting
  • Eating and drinking
  • Talking to passengers
  • Grooming
  • Reading, including maps
  • Using a PDA or navigation system
  • Watching a video
  • Changing the radio station, CD, or MP3 player.
  • Focus on the task at hand - driving:
  • Get familiar with vehicle features and equipment before pulling out into traffic.
  • Preset radio stations, MP3 devices, and climate control.
  • Secure items that may move around when the car is in motion.
  • Do not reach down or behind the seat to pick up items.
  • Do not text message, access the internet, watch video, play video games, search MP3 devices, or use any other distracting technology while driving.
  • Avoid smoking, eating, drinking and reading while driving.
  • Pull safely off the road and out of traffic to deal with children.
  • Do personal grooming at home - not in the car.
  • Review maps and driving directions before hitting the road.
  • Monitor traffic conditions before engaging in activities that could divert attention away from driving.
  • Ask a passenger to help with activities that may be distracting.
  • If driving long distances, schedule regular stops, every 100 miles or two hours.
  • Travel at times when you are normally awake and stay overnight rather than driving straight through.
  • Avoid alcohol and medications that may make you drowsy.
For more information on distracted driving research and safety information, visit the following Web sites:

Copyright © 2012 State of Michigan

Michigan's Drunk Driving Law
It is a crime for a driver to have a bodily alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or greater if over age 21 or .02 or greater if under 21. In addition, Michigan has a high-BAC law with enhanced penalties for anyone caught driving with a BAC of .17 or higher. However, drivers can be arrested at any BAC level if they exhibit signs of impairment while operating a motor vehicle.

Drivers with any amount of a Schedule 1 narcotic--such as marijuana, GHB, or heroin--are subject to the same fines and penalties as drunk drivers, even if they show no signs of impairment.

Costs and Consequences of a Drunk Driving Conviction

If BAC is below .17 and this is a first offense:
  • Up to $500 fine
  • Up to 93 days in jail
  • Up to 360 hours of community service
  • Up to 180 days license suspension 6 points on a driver's license
If BAC is .17 or higher and this is a first offense:
  • Up to $700 fine
  • Up to 180 days in jail
  • Up to 360 hours of community service
  • Up to one year license suspension 6 points on a driver's license
  • Mandatory completion of an alcohol treatment program
  • Ignition interlock use and compliance after 45 days license suspension is required to receive a restricted driver's license. Convicted drunk drivers have limited driving privileges, are prohibited from operating a vehicle without an approved and properly installed ignition interlock device, and are responsible for all installation and upkeep costs for the device.
Anyone who refuses a breath test the first time is given an automatic one-year driver's license suspension. For a second refusal within seven years, the suspension is two years.

Convicted drunk drivers are subject to a $1,000 penalty for two consecutive years under the Driver Responsibility Act, for a total of $2,000 in additional costs.

Safer Alternatives
Tens of thousands of people are arrested annually in Michigan for alcohol-related driving offenses. To avoid a drunk driving arrest and the costs associated with such an arrest:
  • Designate a sober driver before drinking alcohol
  • Call a friend, cab, ride service, walk, or take the bus
  • Stay overnight
Copyright © 2012 State of Michigan

School Bus Safety
School buses are the safest mode of transportation for getting children back and forth to school. Riding in a school bus is safer than walking, riding a bicycle, or being driven to school in private vehicles.

Today's school buses are built with safety in mind. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), children are protected in large school buses by compartmentalization, a passive occupant protection system. This provides a protective envelope consisting of strong, closely-spaced seats that have energy-absorbing padded seat backs that help to distribute and reduce crash forces. Compartmentalization is most effective when occupants are fully seated within the bus seat. Seating should be provided that will allow each occupant to sit on a school bus seat without any part of his or her body extending into the aisle.

The majority of bus-related deaths and injuries involve pedestrians-mostly children-who are struck by a bus or injured when they are exiting the bus to cross traffic.

School bus safety tips for drivers:
  • Prepare to stop when a slowing bus has its overhead yellow lights flashing
  • Stop at least 20 feet away for buses when red lights are flashing, unless driving in the opposite direction on a divided highway
  • Slow down in or near school and residential areas
  • Look for clues-such as safety patrols, crossing guards, bicycles, and playgrounds-that indicate children might be in the area
  • Watch for children between parked cars and other objects
School buses are like traffic signals
  • When overhead lights are flashing yellow: Prepare to stop
  • When overhead lights are flashing red: Stop
  • When hazard warning lights are flashing: Proceed with caution
School bus safety tips for students:
  • Always stay in sight of the bus driver
  • Don't hurry off the bus; check traffic first
  • Don't go back to the bus after exiting
Additional school bus safety information is available from:

Copyright © 2012 State of Michigan