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Study finds less distracted driving in Michigan since hands-free driving law

A study conducted by Cambridge Mobile Telematics is showing a decrease in distracted driving in Michigan since the hands-free driving law was implemented.
Credit: Andrey Popov - stock.adobe.com
Close-up Of A Man's Hand Typing Text Message On Mobile Phone While Driving Car

MICHIGAN, USA — A recent study of the effect of Michigan's hands-free driving law shows a positive trend in distracted driving in the state.

Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT) conducted a nearly two-month-long study using cell phone data from 1 million car trips from June 1 through July 30.

The study estimates that there was an 11.2% reduction in distraction in Michigan since June 30. CMT estimates that reduction has helped prevent 650 crashes, two deaths and $15.5 million in economic damages.

“We are extremely encouraged by the initial results of Michigan’s hands-free legislation,” said Steve Kiefer, Chairman of The Kiefer Foundation and Chairperson of CMT’s Road Safety Board. “These life-saving laws are especially critical during the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer when crashes and fatalities typically increase by 15%. We hope the recent results from Michigan and Ohio inspire the remaining 21 states to enact similar legislation that reduces distracted driving, prevents crashes, and saves lives.”

The study was conducted using "phone motion distraction" data, which is when "the phone is rotating with the screen on while the vehicle is moving."

Prior to the hands-free law going into effect in Michigan, CMT found that there was an average of 1 minute and 47 seconds per hour on the road drivers were handling their phones.

When the study concluded at the end of July, the average dropped to 1 minute and 32 seconds, an 11.2% decrease.

The trend uncovered in the study is similar to other states who have implemented hands-free driving laws.

CMT tracked eight other stands who implemented hands-free laws between 2018 and 2021. Those states also saw an initial decrease in distracted driving over a three-month period, but saw an overall increase in distracted driving by the end of 2022.

CMT says that the increase demonstrated the "need for continued measurement and programs."

You can read more about the study and the methodology used by CMT here.

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