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Why is Michigan falling so far behind other states on penalties for texting and driving?

December 23, 2013 by Steven M. Gursten

Bigger fines, jail time, license points, license suspensions & revocations are all options other states are pursuing to deter drivers from texting while driving

texting while driving

In the scientific community, texting while driving is as dangerous as drunk driving. Everyone knows that texting while driving is incredibly dangerous. And the risks to other motorists by texting drivers are now obvious. And  increasingly deadly.

That’s why Michigan passed its ban on texting-while-driving in 2010.

During the legislative debate on what would eventually become Michigan’s texting law contained in MCL 257.602b, law makers made specific mention of a 2009 study from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute the Virginia, which concluded:

“Text messaging made the risk of crash or near-crash event 23.2 times as high as non-distracted driving.”

But if texting while driving is so dangerous, and the danger it presents is now so obvious and clearly understood, one glaring question about Michigan’s handling of the dangers of texting-while-driving persists:

If texting while driving is so dangerous that Michigan passed a law making it a crime, then why doesn’t Michigan do more in terms of punishment to deter drivers from engaging in this dangerous and deadly behavior?

A second question might be:

Why is Michigan falling behind so many other states that are doing more to deter others from texting behind the wheel?

I’ve been working on several accident cases where drivers have been texting and have seriously injured and killed innocent motorists.  These crashes were so preventable that it makes them even more tragic.  So I’m calling this “texting week” on my auto law blog.  Every day this week, I’ll be writing about Michigan’s penalties for texting while driving compared to penalties in other states. Tomorrow, I’ll start with Michigan’s penalties for texting while driving.

We need to do more now to deter others from texting and driving.  I’m hoping these blogs will play some small part in making Michigan lawmakers take a tougher stance on texting while driving.

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