Michigan might be your top spot if you’re an Ohio-based driver planning a long road trip with friends or family. However, before hitting the road, it’s important to know a few things about Michigan’s driving laws that differ from what you’re used to in the Buckeye State. Here are the top three differences between Ohio and Michigan traffic laws and driving regulations that we believe all drivers from both states should know.


At-fault vs. No-fault


Ohio and Michigan have distinct laws for handling faults in accidents. In Ohio, the “at-fault” system holds drivers responsible for damages they cause. Michigan operates under a “no-fault” insurance system, where the driver’s insurance covers damages regardless of fault.

Previously, Ohio residents could benefit from Michigan’s no-fault benefits after an accident. However, a change in Michigan law, effective June 11, 2019, made most Ohio residents ineligible. Under the new law, non-Michigan residents are entitled to personal injury protection (PIP) benefits only if they own a registered and insured motor vehicle in Michigan. As a result, almost all Ohio residents injured in Michigan can no longer receive Michigan no-fault benefits. They must pursue recovery of medical bills, wage loss, and other economic damages from the at-fault driver through a standard negligence case.

In a “no-fault” state like Michigan, the victim’s primary insurance covers their damages. They can also file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver for additional compensation beyond their insurance policy.

Due to the complexities involved, it is advisable to consult an attorney experienced in both Ohio and Michigan state law for proper guidance and representation.

That’s why you need an attorney with experience in Ohio and Michigan to help you.


Statute of Limitations


The state provides a statute of limitations to ensure that all cases are filed within a reasonable length of time following the occurrence of the motor vehicle accident.

In Ohio, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is two years from the date of the accident. This limitation follows Ohio Revised Code section 2305.10.

In Michigan, on the other hand, you only have one year to file a claim. This state limitation is outlined in Michigan Compiled Laws section 600.5805.

Enacting this regulation ensures that the defendant is protected from any false claims. Furthermore, it ensures that all evidence presented against the defendant is viable.


Seatbelt Laws


Seatbelt regulations vary across states. Depending on the level of responsibility assigned to seatbelt usage, states can be categorized as either primary or secondary states.

In Michigan, all drivers and front-seat passengers are legally required to wear seatbelts. As a result, law enforcement can pull over a driver for not wearing a seatbelt in this “primary” state.

Conversely, Ohio is classified as a “secondary” state, where law enforcement cannot initiate a traffic stop solely for seatbelt non-compliance. A driver must be stopped for committing a primary traffic offense, such as suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI).


Navigating Ohio & Michigan Driving Laws? Get an Expert to Help!


The above list does not contain all the driving and traffic regulations variations between Ohio and Michigan. However, it is crucial for Ohio drivers in Michigan, or vice versa, to remain mindful of the potential changes they may encounter.

Although there are differences, both states share driving and traffic laws similarities. These include DUI and distracted driving regulations.

If you have been arrested for a driving or traffic violation in either state, we recommend seeking the assistance of a car accident lawyer to ensure the best possible outcome for your case. Please get in touch with us today.