AAA Michigan Lauds Senate Committee Vote, State Closer to Ban on Texting While Driving

February 23, 2010

DEARBORN, Mich., Feb. 23 /PRNewswire/ — AAA Michigan today (February 23) applauded members of the Michigan Senate Committee for their unanimous vote which would ban all motorists from sending and reading text messages while driving in Michigan. To date, similar legislation is pending in the Michigan House, but today’s Senate action brings the state one step closer to a ban.

The Senate Committee vote to tie-bar all of the bills together means that the bills must pass together as a package. House Bill 4394/Senate Bill 402 ban electronic messages being read or sent while driving, while House Bill 4370/Senate Bill 468 discusses driving citations for those texting while driving. The House bill carries a $100 fine, but no points on a driver’s record, while the Senate bill carries a fine up to $500, with no points. The next step will be for a full vote before the Senate and a committee vote in the House. No date has been set for the upcoming votes, which could be taken up soon.

Under the proposed law, violation of the ban on texting while driving will become a secondary offense, allowing police to ticket motorists for texting only if they pulled the driver over for another violation. Governor Jennifer Granholm has indicated she will sign the legislation.

“AAA Michigan strongly supports a text-messaging ban and we continue to work in hopes of it being passed as a primary enforcement offense,” said AAA Michigan Traffic Safety Manager Jack Peet. “Text messaging is one of the most dangerous things a driver can do behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. Yet, survey after survey shows that an alarming number of drivers do it.”

A growing body of research evidence confirms that taking your hands off the wheel, eyes off the road and mind off the driving task radically increases your chances of causing a crash. A recent study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute showed that for commercial truck drivers who are texting, crash risk increases by 23 times – that’s 2300 percent.

AAA Michigan is joining AAA clubs nationwide in a campaign to pass laws in all 50 states to ban drivers from text messaging. Currently 19 states and the District of Columbia have such laws, with 10 more states prohibiting teens or new drivers from texting while driving, often part of a broader ban on teen cell phone use. AAA also continues, through driver training, public education and safety programs, to discourage motorists from yielding to any kind of distraction behind the wheel.

AAA Michigan encourages drivers to contact their representatives and express support for a text messaging ban which would include making the law a primary enforcement issue.

AAA Michigan has been involved in driving safety since its founding nearly a century ago, with activities including the AAA School safety patrol and road safety improvement programs. AAA Michigan offers travel, insurance and financial services to more than 1.6 million members in Michigan. It is part of The Auto Club Group (ACG), the largest affiliation of AAA clubs in the Midwest, with approximately 4.1 million members in eight states. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation, a not-for-profit organization with more than 51 million members in the United States and Canada.


Source: newswire

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