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Granholm Signs Bills Banning Texting While Driving; Practice Becomes a Primary Offense July 1

April 30, 2010

Michigan 24th state to prohibit dangerous behavior behind the wheel

LANSING - Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today signed a package of bills that ban text-messaging while driving.  The new laws take effect July 1, 2010.

"While any form of distraction can endanger a driver's safety, texting is the riskiest behavior, because it involves three types of distraction - visual, manual and cognitive," Granholm said.  "By signing this law and making texting while driving a primary offense, we are giving Michigan's law enforcement officers the tools necessary to identify and stop this dangerous behavior before it results in a crash causing injury or death."

House Bill 4394 amends the Michigan Vehicle Code to prohibit a person from reading, typing or sending text messages using a wireless two-way communication device, including a wireless phone located in a person's hand or lap, while operating a moving motor vehicle on a street or highway in the state.  A violation is a civil infraction that results in a $100 fine for a first offense and a $200 fine for a subsequent offense.

Other bills in the package include:  House Bill 4370, which prohibits points from being entered on a person's driving record for texting while driving; and Senate Bill 468, which specifies that a violation of this law will not be entered on the master driving record.

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, nearly 6,000 people died in 2008 in crashes involving distracted drivers, and more than half a million were injured.  The National Safety Council, which estimates that 80 percent of all crashes are related to driver inattention, reports that nearly 40 percent of teenagers and young adults surveyed admitted to sending or receiving text messages while driving.  Also, a recent study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicates that drivers who use hand-held devices are four times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves.

House Bill 4394 was sponsored by Representative Lee Gonzales of Flint; House Bill 4370 was sponsored by Representative Gino Polidori of Dearborn; and Senate Bill 468 was sponsored by Senator Roger Kahn of Saginaw.

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