Hands-free smartphone bill gets consideration

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FLINT (WJRT) - (5/17/17) - There's mixed reaction a bill moving through the Michigan House of Representatives.

It would effectively stop drivers from holding their smart phones on the road.

"I just don't see that it's a danger holding the phone driving," said Jesse Hyde.

Randy Wade says, "It's not a good idea to text on it the whole time, you know what I mean, but you can have it out in the open."

"I don't think people need to be texting and driving or spending time Facebooking and driving but I don't know what I would do without the GPS on my phone," said Allison Ollette.

Drivers, like Allison, who rely on their phone for directions, music or entertainment would have to find a hands-free way to make it happen if House Bill No. 4466 passes. It was introduced Tuesday by Representative Martin Howrylak (R-Troy).

"On the law enforcement side it helps us to detect and correct the issues that are hard to see right now with the use of cell phones. It's hard to tell if they're texting or surfing the internet as opposed to making a phone call, so this would help us to better do our job," said Lt. Charles Black, MSP Commercial Enforcement Field Commander for district three.

Lt. Black says a similar law has been in place for commercial drivers for a few years.

"Crashes, although fatalities are up a little in commercial vehicles as opposed to last year. The actual at fault drivers for commercial vehicles is actually down and that could be attributed to the hands free driving," Lt. Black said.

In Michigan in 2016, MSP reports there were 469 distracted driving crashes in Genesee County and 253 in Saginaw County. Some people think it's about time for our state to join some 14 others and go hands-free.

"Too many distracted drivers. I've watched my family get into too many accidents," said Jennifer Thompson.

"I personally have no problem with it. I think the issue will be how to enforce it and the penalties that come through the enforcement," said Jason Waisanen.

Fines would start at $250.

Law enforcement says the best way to go is to sync your phone to your car if that's a possibility for you.

Rep. Howrylak says support is increasing as more and more people become victims of distracted driving.

There's a second hearing in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee coming up on May 30th.

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