Reading, writing or sending text messages while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle would be banned in Michigan under legislation approved by a House committee this morning.
Responding to concerns about the potential for overly-zealous enforcement, however, the legislation was scaled back from its original version and would not allow police officers to base a traffic stop on suspected texting alone.
Violating the prohibition would be a civil infraction, punishable by fines of about $100 and would not result in penalty points on an operators license.
Rep. Lee Gonzales, D-Flint, said Michigan needs to move quickly to join nearly two dozen other states which have banned texting while driving, a practice he said is “worse than drunk driving.”
I can't support this. I'll give Gonzales some credit for scaling this back from being a primary offense and points so it isn't as bad as it was, but we have too many laws as it is. The problem in today's society is that too many people, especially on traffic matters say that there ought to be another law. Both parties are equally guilty in this area.
Texting while driving is dumb. I don't do it, and don't think others should do it. However, should it be illegal? Or should dangerous driving be illegal - which it already is. Current laws already rectify the problems that can be caused from texting and driving.
1) A person who drives a vehicle upon a highway or a frozen public lake, stream, or pond or other place open to the general public, including, but not limited to, an area designated for the parking of motor vehicles, in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.
(2) A person who violates subsection (1) is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 93 days or a fine of not more than $500.00, or both.
257.626c Operation of vehicle on highway or public place; conduct as felony; penalty.
A person who operates a vehicle upon a highway or other place open to the general public or generally accessible to motor vehicles, including an area designated for the parking of vehicles, carelessly and heedlessly in willful and wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others, or without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger any person or property resulting in a serious impairment of a body function of a person, but does not cause death, is guilty of felonious driving punishable by imprisonment for not more than 2 years or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both.
257.626b Careless or negligent operation of vehicle as civil infraction.
A person who operates a vehicle upon a highway or a frozen public lake, stream, or pond or other place open to the general public including an area designated for the parking of vehicles in a careless or negligent manner likely to endanger any person or property, but without wantonness or recklessness, is responsible for a civil infraction.
(1) The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of the vehicles and the traffic upon, and the condition of, the highway.
Turn Signals are the law. Impeding traffic is against the law. Crossing the double yellow line is against the law. All these things are common when drivers are texting instead of looking at the road. We have enough laws. We don't need more laws.