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Police in Battle Creek now enforcing city's distracted driving ordinance

man in car looking out windshield at traffic

Battle Creek police officers can now pull over drivers who are holding a cell phone.

Battle Creek commissioners passed the distracted driving ordinance earlier in the year, but the police department says it wasn’t enforcing it until signs went up along roads this month.

The ordinance prohibits drivers from using any hand-held phone while driving. That means no typing, no scrolling and no phone calls unless you have a hands-free device.

State law already forbids texting while driving. Battle Creek leaders chose to take the local ordinance further.

“The new ordinance is viewed as more enforceable than the state law, as it is difficult to prove that someone was texting while driving as opposed to scrolling through Facebook or browsing the internet,” the city says in an online post. “The ordinance addresses a broader variety of activities that take drivers’ attention away from the road.”

The city of Troy also has a distracted driving ordinance that’s tougherthan the state’s law.

Dustin Dwyer reports enterprise and long-form stories from Michigan Public’s West Michigan bureau. He was a fellow in the class of 2018 at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. He’s been with Michigan Public since 2004, when he started as an intern in the newsroom.
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