Today, text messaging is a driving distraction in Michigan. Starting July 1, it will become a driving infraction.
On Friday, during a taping of the Oprah Winfrey show, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm signed a bill that bans drivers from text messaging.
A first offense will carry a fine of $100, while subsequent offenses will result in a fine of $200. A texting while driving violation will not add points to a person’s driver’s license, or carry insurance rate implications.
“I haven’t text and drove since my brother was recently in a car accident,” said Buchanan teenager Kaydee Conn. When asked if her brother was texting at the time of the accident, Kaydee replied, “He says no, but his phone shows yes.”
Kaydee says she was recently diagnosed with Carpel Tunnel Syndrome due to excessive texting. She admits that some of that texting was done while she was driving. “And I have friends who’ve been in accidents due to texting, not bad accidents, but still accidents caused from text messaging.”
In the text-filled world of teens, some clearly support the message behind the ban.
“When my brother I’m with him, he’ll be driving he’ll put his hands on top of the wheel, hold the wheel with his wrist and he’ll text and we swerved almost hit cars, it scares the crap out of me,” said Buchanan High School student Ariel Cauffman.
When the new law takes effect on July 1, Michigan will become the 24th state to ban texting behind the wheel.
“The stories are clear and the percentages are clear that texting while driving is even more of a distraction than those other things that bother us when we’re behind the wheel, and I think we have to be very careful about going to far, but in this case, I think it’s reasonable,” said Mich. Rep. John Proos, (R) St. Joseph.
But will the new law be effective in curtailing texting related accidents?
“I think that it will make a difference, maybe a small difference because people will be afraid. They think people who have never had a ticket before, they'll think of that more as an incentive to not do it,” said Buchanan High School student Alyssa Bogunia.