Fenton Police Report No Texting and Driving Tickets to Date

Law is a difficult one for officers to enforce, police say.

Texting and driving is illegal in Michigan, but local and state law enforcement agents and experts say the law is difficult to enforce.

Public Act 60 of 2010 prohibits operating a motor vehicle while reading, typing, or sending a text message on an electronic wireless device. 

There have been 43 texting and driving citations so far this year in Macomb, 199 in Oakland and 185 Wayne, according to Michigan State Police.

Michigan State Police Sgt. Mike Church said the texting and driving statute is difficult to enforce, especially with the advancements in smart phones since the law was put in effect in 2010.

When an officer pulls over someone for texting and driving, which is a civil infraction, the phone can’t be seized for proof. “It makes it difficult,” Church said.

And since technology has advanced since the law was passed, drivers could be using their phones to scroll for music, view a webpage or view a map. “The only thing (the law) seems to prohibit is text messaging,” said Church.

While flawed, the law is a good starting point, Church said. “It is a very good place to start,” he said. “Distracted driving is very dangerous.”

So far, Fenton police haven’t written any tickets on the texting and driving law. It’s a difficult one to enforce, said Chief of Police Rick Aro, because it’s difficult for police to be sure texting and driving is what a driver is doing when his or her head is down.

To prove someone was the driver has to voluntarily give police their cell phone so an officer can look at it, Aro said.

The law might come into play if there’s a serious accident, and police suspect texting and driving caused it, he said. In that instance, Fenton police could get a search warrant for the cell phone to check it, Aro said.

But the Fenton Police Department hasn’t had an accident caused by texting and driving, or any tickets written for it, he said.

In Michigan last year, drivers were reported to be distracted in 3,986 crashes, and using cell phones in 821 crashes. 

Becky Joe October 08, 2012 at 09:23 PM
I am amazed at the chances people take with their own lives and others. It is very scary.
Richard Smith October 08, 2012 at 10:44 PM
I'm sorry but sometimes I have a hard time taking Fenton PD serious when they say they have a hard time enforcing this or that then I see them running radar on US23 south of the county line.
uknowimright October 09, 2012 at 09:50 AM
Or ignoring people blatantly disregarding the stop lights at US23 and Silver Lake and Owen Roads where countless accidents have been occurring of late...
Jack Ryan October 12, 2012 at 04:33 PM
I have a hard time taking people seriously when they complain about the police after reading articles how they are arresting people for possession of cocaine, embezzlement and disorderly. As for the texting while driving, what moron is going to text and drive with a police car sitting next to them.
michael henk October 23, 2012 at 01:03 PM
I did a brief and informal study from my front porch one day after seeing many drivers pass by who were looking down at the bottom of their steering wheel. In less than 5 minutes, 43 of 60 drivers that passed were looking down in that rather obvious pose - almost 75% of the vehicles!! People believe the law doesn't apply to them.


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