Michigan moves forward on texting while driving ban
Last January, an 18 year old west Michigan boy died in a car crash because he was sending text messages to his girlfriend while driving. This unfortunate event may not have occurred had there been a texting ban in the state at the time.
Recently, the Michigan House Transportation Committee approved legislation that would prohibit all drivers from exchanging text messages. A past attempt to make texting while driving a primary offense failed a few months ago. Under the new Senate Bill 468, a first offense would mean a $100 fine and no consequences on the driver’s record. Additional violation could bring the fine up to $200. The proposed law would only make texting while driving a secondary offense, meaning police officers will need to stop drivers for another violation before handing them a ticket for text messaging.
According to Rep. Lee Gonzales, a strong supporter of the texting ban, the bill would “”at least to get something on the books, and then maybe tweak it after some time. We see it every day, the near-misses. Of all the forms of distracted driving, texting and driving is the most dangerous.”
AAA Michigan, working with all AAA clubs to put a nationwide ban on texting while driving, hopes the law will get approved and eventually evolve in a primary offense.
“Text messaging is one of the most dangerous things a driver can do behind the wheel of a moving vehicle,” said AAA Michigan Traffic Safety Manager Jack Peet. “Yet, many surveys show that an alarming number of drivers do it.”
Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, in favor of a texting while driving ban, is now waiting for the House and Senate to approve the law.
Source: AAA Michigan press release, March 18, 2010; Free Press Michigan, March 22, 2010