Sen. Kahns texting-while-driving ban to be signed into law
Thursday, April 29, 2010
LANSING — Sen. Roger Kahn’s measure establishing penalties for texting while driving has been approved by both legislative chambers and sent to the governor. The bill is scheduled to be signed Friday, April 30.
“I look forward to the governor signing my bill into law,” said Kahn, R-Saginaw Township. “By putting penalties in place to discourage distracted driving, I hope we can help protect our people while they are on the road.”
Senate Bill 468 makes reading, writing, or sending a text message on a hand-held wireless two-way communication device while operating a motor vehicle a primary offense. The measure also establishes fines of $100 for a first offense and $200 for a second or subsequent offense.
Kahn decided to sponsor his measure after 30-year-old Saginaw Township resident Michelle Munsch was injured last year when a distracted driver using a cell phone rear-ended her vehicle.
“The few seconds that someone is texting while driving can alter the rest of someone’s life,” Munsch said. “It’s dangerous, unnecessary and not worth risking the life of someone else or yourself; if it’s that important, pull over.”
Munsch added that she will have a greater sense of safety when Kahn’s bill becomes law.
Other texting ban measures set to be signed by the governor include House Bills 4370 and 4394, which establish texting while driving as a primary offense and create penalties for doing so. Violators would face fines of $100 for a first offense and $200 for a second or subsequent offense.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 80 percent of vehicle crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes involve some form of driver inattention. The most common distraction is texting while driving.
The National Safety Council estimates at least 28 percent of all traffic crashes – or at least 1.6 million crashes each year – are caused by drivers using cell phones and texting.
A Car and Driver magazine report found that driving while texting is more dangerous than drinking and driving.