AAA Michigan Supports Ban on Texting While Driving, Encourages Legislators To Make Law 'Primary Offense'

Jan 26, 2010, 15:35 ET from AAA Michigan

DEARBORN Mich., Jan. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- AAA Michigan today (January 26) applauded members of the Michigan Senate for their vote which would ban all motorists from sending and reading text messages while driving in Michigan.  Under the legislation (Senate Bill 402, which passed 31-6), the violation would become a secondary offense, allowing police to ticket motorists for texting only if they pulled the driver over for another violation.

Similar legislation also has passed the House.  The House and Senate would have to agree on a final version of the legislation before it could be sent to Gov. Jennifer Granholm for her signature.  The governor has indicated she will sign it.

"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.