How Michigan police are using unmarked vehicles to target distracted drivers


Police across the state of Michigan are cracking down on distracted drivers by using unmarked vehicles.

Law enforcement officers from state, county, and local agencies began conducting “Operation Ghost Rider” throughout Michigan last Monday.

Police are using unmarked spotter vehicles, which contain a law enforcement passenger. When the spotters observe a distracted driver, they radio a fully marked law enforcement unit to initiate a traffic stop.

One of the biggest things police are looking for are drivers using their phones while driving. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the state’s hands-free driving legislation into law last year.

Under the law, a driver cannot hold or support a phone or other device with any part of their hands, arms, or shoulders. Even if a cell phone or other device is mounted on a dashboard or connected to a vehicle’s built-in system, a driver cannot use their hands to operate it beyond a single touch.

Violations include: 1st violation, $100 fine and/or 16 hours of community service; 2nd or subsequent violations, $250 fine and/or 24 hours of community service; 3 violations within a 3-year period, complete a driving-improvement course.

Fines are doubled if a traffic crash occurs and the at-fault driver was holding or manually using a mobile device while operating the vehicle. Violators can also be cited for careless driving, which is a three (3) point offense and a civil infraction punishable by a fine.

“Despite knowing the risks, distracted drivers continue to put themselves and the innocent people around them in danger,” said Jim Santilli, CEO of TIA and chairman of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Advisory Commissions’ Distracted Driving Action Team. “Sadly, many people have lost a loved one to a completely preventable behavior. We can all do our part by keeping our eyes on the road and hands on the wheel at all times.”

Operation Ghost Rider was revealed at a press conference in Macomb County in 2017. Several mobilizations will be scheduled during 2024.

Copyright 2024 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit – All rights reserved.

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