Michigan lawmakers declared victory with the passage of their hands-free cellphone usage distracted driving edict on June 30th of last year, proclaiming silence in cars across the state – but Michiganders are asking, “Did anyone hear that?”

Apparently not.

According to House Bill 4250, Michigan legislators decided that we can no longer hold or use our cellphones for any reason while we are driving – calls, texts, scrolling social media, watching movies, etc. If we disobey them, we can get pulled over and ticketed.

Technically, you can’t even do anything I mentioned above even if you are sitting in line at a fast food restaurant or your bank – because you are “operating” a vehicle.

According to the Center Square, the Michigan State Police (MSP) handed out a lackluster 1,563 citations and written warnings involving the new distracted driving law over a five-month period from from July through late November. Michiganders, according to the report, got 720 citations and 843 folks weaseled out of a ticket with a verbal warning.

With over 7.2 million licensed drivers in the state, that means that the MSP stopped a whopping 0.021708333333333% of distracted Michigan drivers who were using their cellphones. And it’s not because the law is working or they didn’t see anyone driving and using their phones. That’s pretty obvious.

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I can tell you from personal experience driving around the state, in town and on the highways, that NO ONE is paying attention to Michigan’s cellphone ban. I’m not saying that the intent behind the bill wasn’t well-meaning or important but it’s not the kind of thing that’s going to work with a mandate.

It has to be done through public service announcements and shaming. Or steep fines of $1,000 or more. And massive enforcement. Otherwise, the legislators are just peeing into the wind with their $100 fines for individuals and limited points on licenses – and only stopping of 0.021708333333333% Michiganders driving on roads with their phones in their hands.

With Michiganders mostly ignoring the law (and getting away with it) things aren’t going to change for them anytime soon unless they have to – which means that the fines or the points or the enforcement needs to be burdensome enough so that they voluntarily comply with the law on a daily basis.