Lawyers welcome new law that will prevent car accidents and save lives
Come July 1, there are going to be a number of Michigan drivers who will need to change their ways behind the wheel. Writing, reading or sending electronic text messages while driving a car will become illegal.
This ban on texting has been a long time coming. And, as a car accident lawyer who has handled many preventable car crashes due to distracted driving and texting, I couldn’t be happier. I know the 18 other lawyers who handle car accidents from my firm feel the same way.
According to many studies on the dangers of texting while driving (see my previous blogs on this subject), texting and driving is as dangerous as drunk driving. This texting ban is needed now and I’m glad the law has caught up to the science.
Michigan joins 27 other states in enacting this legislation, which prohibits behind-the-wheel texting via cell phones, laptop computers plus a host of other wireless communication devices. Certain
emergency situations will be exempt.
Penalties for Texting in Michigan
Under Michigan law, texting while driving will be classified as a primary offense, which means you can be pulled over and ticketed based on a text messaging offense alone. Violators will face a fine of $100 for a first offense and $200 for subsequent offenses.
Texting Ban Has Public Support
This welcome reform stems from a groundswell of public support – punctuated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s findings attributing nearly 6,000 deaths and 500,000 injuries in 2008 to distracted driving habits such as texting. Last month, I blogged about Oprah reaching out and asking people to take a no-texting pledge. Many people believe it’s time to drive safer.
Texting while driving increases the likelihood of being involved in a car accident by more than 23 percent. That is, findings have shown that people who text while driving are more 23 percent more likely to be in a accident than non-distracted drivers. My hope is that Michigan’s new anti-texting law will surely help reduce this dangerous behavior and lead to safer roadways.
I’ve been writing about the dangers of texting while driving for some time now in efforts to help protect my clients, friends, and loved ones. But just because this is now illegal, doesn’t mean such dangerous behavior will stop. Please, take a minute to think about what you’re doing. Is sending that text really worth putting your life and the lives of others in jeopardy by causing a horrific car accident?
Put the phone down. Or if it’s truly an emergency, pull over somewhere safe to make that call or text, please.
– Steven M. Gursten is recognized as one of the nation’s top experts in serious car and truck accident personal injury cases and auto insurance no-fault litigation. He writes extensively about distracted driving and auto accident law. Michigan Auto Law has received the largest reported jury verdict for an automobile accident case in Michigan in seven of the past 10 years, including 2009, according to published reports.
– Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by OregonDOT
Michigan Auto Law is the largest law firm exclusively handling car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire state. We have offices in Farmington Hills, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Sterling Heights to better serve you. Call (800) 777-0028 for a free consultation with an auto accident attorney – anytime. We can help.