LANSING — The House Transportation Committee voted in favor of a bipartisan package of bills yesterday aimed at addressing distracted driving in the state of Michigan. Included in the package was House Bill 4181, sponsored by state Rep. Mari Manoogian (D-Birmingham), to ban any driver under the age of 18 from using a cell phone while driving. Currently, the law only applies to individuals with graduated licenses.

“Distracted driving has become a real danger to all drivers in Michigan, and the current laws simply do not do enough to address the many behaviors causing the rise in accidents among our young people,” said Rep. Manoogian. “Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all Michiganders is not a partisan issue, and I am grateful my Republican colleagues have joined me in this effort.”

Cell phone “use” is defined in the bill as the act of initiating a call, answering a call, or engaging in verbal communication through a phone. The law would not apply to individuals who are reporting accidents or other emergencies.

Also included in the package were House Bills 4198 and 4199 which would add reading emails or sending messages via social media apps to the list of banned activities for drivers and increase penalties for texting while driving in Michigan from $100 to $250 for a first violation and from $200 to $500 for a second.

The package was sent to the House Ways and Means Committee for further consideration.