Jessica Mathews /

AAA Michigan is among the groups applauding state House lawmakers for passing new distracted driving legislation.

The package of bills - HBs 4250, 4251 and 4252 - would address a variety of issues including banning the use of handheld devices beyond just texting and driving to include the use of social media, video streaming and sending or receiving calls.

AAA reports that Michigan’s current distracted driving law only addresses texting while driving. It does not prohibit the other ways individuals interact with their cellphones such as with mobile apps, social media or video streaming.

The Auto Club says that lack of clarity and reference to out-of-date cellphone technology prompted lawmakers to introduce the package of bills that would strengthen Michigan’s existing distracted driving law in an effort to create safer roads.

AAA Spokeswoman Adrienne Woodland says distracted driving remains a growing traffic safety problem here in Michigan and across the nation – telling WHMI the true numbers are likely much higher due to under-reporting.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 400,000 people are injured in distraction-related crashes every year. Data shows distracted driving crashes killed 3,522 people in the United States in 2021 – an average of 10 deaths per day. That number was up 12% from the year before that tracked 3,138 deaths in 2020. In Michigan alone, there were 51 fatal crashes involving a distracted driver, resulting in 59 fatalities in 2021.

Woodland said legislation like what is being proposed will help prevent drivers from becoming another statistic. She added distracted driving legislation needs to be in line with current trends and these bills are a step in the right direction.

The bills will next be considered by the Michigan Senate.