Traffic Safety Laws in Michigan

Electronic Devices and Texting

In Michigan it is illegal for any teen with a Graduated Driver's License (Level 1 or 2) to use an electronic device while operating a vehicle. The new law, which went into effect March 28, 2013, carries heavy penalties if a teen is caught violating the new law. this can include having your probationary period extended or having your license further restricted or suspended. For exemption to this law visit the Secretary of State website

Texting is banned in the state of Michigan. This applies to all drivers, regardless of age, while behind the wheel.

Seat Belts

Everyone riding in the front seat of a vehicle must wear a seat belt. Those 8 through 15 years old need to wear a seat belt in all seating positions and those under 8 years old or under 4 ft 9 inches must be in an approved child safety seat. The type of the safety seat depends on the age, height and weight of the child.

If a rider is detected not wearing a seat belt, state law allows police officers to pull the vehicle over just for that reason.

Child Car Seat Laws

When riding in a vehicle, children under 4 years old must be properly secured in an approved safety seat in the rear of the vehicle. The only time a child under 4 years old may ride in the front seat of a vehicle is if all other seats are occupied by children under 4 years old. 

Additionally, older children must be seated in a booster seat until they are at least 8 years old or 4 ft 9 inches tall.

If you're in the market for one, you can shop online for a car seat at any time. When ordering, be sure the car seat matches your child's height, weight and age.

Note: Children are best protected by sitting in the middle of the back seat. Rear-facing child seats shouldn't be used in the front seat of a vehicle with air bags.


Headlights must be turned on from 30 minutes after sunset until 30 minutes before sunrise, and at any other time when visibility is reduced to under 500 feet.

High beams may not be used within 500 feet of approaching vehicles.

It's against the law to drive with only the parking lights illuminated.


Michigan no longer mandates helmets for all riders. To ride without a helmet, you must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Have passed a motorcycle course or held an endorsement for at least 2 years. (Driver only)
  • Carry at least an additional $20,000 medical insurance

Reporting Drunk Drivers

Unlike some states, Michigan doesn't have a single, centralized number to call to report drivers who appear to be inebriated. So, to report dangerous drivers, simply call 911.

Unattended Children

Michigan does have a specific law that addresses the issue of leaving children unattended in a vehicle (MCL 750.135a); it specifically states that no child younger than 6 years old can be left in a vehicle unattended. The person attending the child must be at least 13 years old and not be incapacitated.

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