Distracted Driving: It’s More Than Just Cell Phone Use


Many people believe that distracted driving laws only pertain to cell phone use. However, that’s not the case. In many states, distracted driving can apply to something as minor as eating. From having pets in your lap to fixing your makeup, even reading a map, distracted driving is a term that can be applied to almost anything depending on your state laws. It serves you well to know what your state law says because a routine drive to work can become an expensive lesson if you’re not careful.

Examples of Distracted Driving Laws

States are able to develop distracted driving laws as they see fit, which means the fines, penalties, and consequences you’ll incur for driving while distracted can vary greatly from state to state. Utah, for example, is very serious about the penalties they dole out for distracted driving. The punishments range from hefty fines to restrictions and even jail time. However, while those under 18 years of age are prohibited from using handheld devices, drivers who are over 18 are allowed to. The penalties and laws don’t seem to mesh, and that’s rather common among distracted driving laws.

Michigan is very particular about what is considered distracted driving. Brushing your hair, looking at a physical map, changing your radio station, even talking to people in the car and listening to music too loudly are all activities that could get you ticketed for distracted driving. Many of these laws seem arbitrary, and opponents of the laws have said as much. For instance, what’s considered “too loud”? And who expects a group of people to drive to work in silence? Some have argued that the law seems to be written to allow officers to pull almost anyone over for distracted driving, even for subjective reasons.

In other states, distracted driving includes things like tending to children, having your visor too low, and other kinds of activities and circumstances. It’s hard enough to keep track of your own state’s laws, but for those who travel across state lines as a regular part of their work or lives, the situation can be almost impossible. However, there are some basics you can remember that can help you avoid a distracted driving ticket.

Distracted Driving is Broken into Three Categories

In every state, there are three categories of distracted driving. Visual, manual, and cognitive forms of distracted driving are recognized nationwide. These distractions are defined as such.

●     Visual – Anything that takes your eyes off the road.

●     Manual – Anything that takes your hands off the wheel.

●     Cognitive – Anything that takes your mind off your driving.

You can see immediately that these definitions are extremely broad. Technically, thinking about what you’re having for lunch or an upcoming business meeting could take your mind off your driving, but these things are obviously not detectable by a passing police officer.

With all the ambiguity surrounding distracted driving, it can be hard to know what to do and how to protect yourself. The basics are clear; no matter what’s actually listed in the state law, if what you’re doing falls under any of the three categories, a law enforcement officer can say you were driving while distracted. This ambiguity means you need to be aware of what you’re doing at all times and try to minimize as many observable distractions as possible.

Fighting Your Distracted Driving Ticket Amid Ambiguity

It’s clear that there’s a lot of room for interpretation in these laws. The ambiguity leads some to say that the laws are too subjective and that getting a ticket could come down to which law enforcement officer sees you and what that person considers to be distracting. That’s a good defense, however, when fighting a ticket for distracted driving, and it’s a good reason that you should fight a distracted driving ticket. Don’t let one person’s opinion be a reason for increased insurance rates, points against your license, and a host of other financial and legal consequences.

For some people, a single ticket could mean a license suspension or hefty fines and rate hikes. That’s why Ticket Void has been working with drivers for years to help them find the traffic attorney that’s perfect for their case. If you’ve been charged with distracted driving, don’t pay that ticket before you speak with an attorney. You just might have a case and grounds for the dismissal of your ticket. With just a few pieces of information, Ticket Void can match you with a traffic lawyer in your state who can help you fight your ticket. The initial consultation is free, so what do you have to lose? Get started today, and exercise your right to fight.


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