Back in April, Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed legislation that bans sending, typing, or reading text messages or e-mails while driving in Michigan. The ban is set to begin on July 1, 2010.
Under the ban the first offense will cost violators $100, and repeat offenses will cost violators $200. Texting will be classified as a primary offense under Michigan law. Being a primary offense, this means that a police can pull over a motorist solely for using ones cellular phone to send, type, or reading text messages or e-mails. No point to ones driver's record will incur with this violation.
The exceptions mentioned in the legislation pertaining to texting while driving are to report a crash, report crime, or other emergencies.
Michigan became the 24th state to enact legislation pertaining to texting while driving. A spokesperson from AAA of Michigan (insurance) hopes to see texting legislation in every state by 2013.
The texting ban in Michigan are the "fruits" of House Bill 4394, House Bill 4370, and Senate Bill 468.
Research shows that drivers who send and receive text messages take their eyes off the road an average of 4.6 seconds out of every 6 seconds. At 55 mph, the Department of Transportation says that means a driver is cruising down the entire length of a football field without looking where he or she is going.
According to a recent CBS News/NY Times survey, an overwhelming majority of Americans from varying regions of the U.S believe that texting while driving should be illegal and that the practice should be outlawed.
In the above mentioned CBS News/NY Times survey, more that half of those who said the practice should be illegal, felt that the punishment should match that of drunk driving.
Law enforcement officials agree that most accidents are preventable, if only the driver would have been focused and paying attention. They also agree that texting while driving is one of the most dangerous driving habits - but is one of the hardest to resist.
Back in October 2009, President Obama signed into legislation, a ban that prohibits federal employees from texting while driving. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood calls distracted driving like texting, is a menace to society.
To help get the information out about the texting while driving ban, the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) is using billboards, posters, and public service announcements. Their billboards read:
- "TXT BACK L8R ............................................................OR PAY $100" along with
- "TXT BACK L8R.............................................................IT'S THE LAW"
For a look at the signing of this legislation, which was done on The Oprah Winfrey Show by Gov. Jennifer Granholm, please visit www.clickondetroit.com/video/23324248/index.html
For a look at one of the commercials created by the Office Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) pertaining to texting while driving, please visit www.youtube.com/ohsp
For a look at the work that the U.S Department of Transportation is doing and their relevance, please visit www.dot.gov .