New law raises endorsement fees to pay for Motorcycle Safety and Education Awareness Fund; creates ‘Look Twice — Save A Life’ motorcycle accident program
“Look Twice — Save A Life.”
It’s excellent advice for preventing and reducing motorcycle accident deaths and injuries in Michigan.
As a motorcycle accident attorney, the underlying cause of the majority of people I represent is not that the car driver didn’t look, but that the driver didn’t “see” the motorcycle that was there to be seen. People often are not expecting to “see” a motorcycle, so even when they are visible and plainly there to be seen, it sometimes doesn’t register in time to be processed by the brain before a driver, say, switches lanes.
That’s why as an attorney with a unique perspective on how motorcycle accidents occur, I am so hopeful for a new Michigan law that has launched to better protect motorcycle owners. It’s a new motorcycle safety campaign that takes aim to correct the No. 1 cause of motorcycle accidents.
The new law, which began as House Bill 4306 and became Public Act 115 of 2017 after it was approved by Gov. Snyder on July 27, 2017, accomplishes three things:
- It increases the original and renewal fees for motorcycle endorsements. (Amends MCL 257.312c(1))
- The revenue generated by the fee increases will be deposited directly into a newly created Motorcycle Safety and Education Awareness Fund. (Amends MCL 257.312c(2))
- The Fund’s money will be used by the Secretary of State “for the purpose of creating and maintaining a ‘look twice — save a life’ program that promotes motorcycle awareness, safety, and education.” (Creates MCL 257.312c(3))
In its June 16, 2017, “Bill Analysis,” the Senate Fiscal Agency determined the new law’s endorsement fee increases “would generate an estimated $250,000” annually to be used for funding the “Look Twice — Save A Life” motorcycle accident prevention program.
Reversing the sharp increase in Michigan motorcycle accident injuries and deaths
This is a needed and long-overdue idea.
The “Look Twice — Save A Life” program addresses both the safety risk and the excuse of drivers who claim they never saw a motorcycle operator.
Most importantly, though, the program will hopefully stop and reverse the tragic increase in motorcycle accident injuries and deaths in Michigan.
“Motorcyclist fatalities” in Michigan increased 23% between 2014 and 2015, from 112 to 138, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA)’s 2015 “Motorcyclist Traffic Fatalities By State,” page 10.
What are the fee increases that will for the motorcycle accident prevention fund?
The new law, which amends MCL 257.312c(1), will increase the “original motorcycle endorsement fee” by $2.50 (from $13.50 to $16) and “renewal of motorcycle endorsement fee” by $2 (from $5 to $7).
What is ABATE’s position on motorcycle accident prevention fund?
In written testimony to the House and Senate transportation committees, on March 21, 2017, and June 15, 2017, respectively, ABATE of Michigan President Vince Consiglio stated unequivocally that he supported both the creation of the fund and its funding of a “Look Twice — Save A Life” program in Michigan:
“This legislation will create a fund, solely funded by motorcyclists, to promote motorcycle awareness to the general public. This is a User Fee to help protect the Users. No general state funds will go into the Motorcycle Safety Awareness Fund from this legislation. The state of Michigan currently doesn’t have a ‘Look Twice Save a Life’ program. This bill will create one. … Motor vehicles turning left in front of motorcyclists is not uncommon. Former Representative Pete Pettalia is an example of an accident that could have been avoided had that driver looked twice.”
Pettalia (R-Presque Isle), who successfully pushed to repeal Michigan’s nearly 40-year-old mandatory motorcycle helmet law, was killed in 2016 when his motorcycle crashed into a pickup that had improperly turned left into his lane of traffic.