McAfee Secure sites help keep you safe from identity theft, credit card fraud, spyware, spam, viruses and online scams

Michigan Texting Law and Car Insurance

The state of Michigan law to ban texting while driving went into effect on July 1, 2010, making Michigan the latest in a slew of states to enact some form of such legislation. Governor Jennifer Granholm signed the bill into law in May during a rally promoting safe driving that was broadcast live on national television. One of the major intents of the law was to promote better driving habits among motorists in the state of MI to help reduce the number of accidents related to this practice.

In passing and implementing the law, Michigan joins several other states as well as the District of Columbia in banning texting while behind the wheel of a car, illustrating the importance of good insurance. There are also certain other states that have completely banned the use of hand held cell phones while driving altogether. Interestingly, in various public research studies and informal surveys, an overwhelming majority of respondents tend to support this type of law, even though many of these same Michigan drivers admit to engaging in the practice while they drive. It may be that for some people the prospect of a fine or other such penalty would curb the temptation to text while making that daily commute.

Provisions of Michigan Texting Law

As part of the provisions of the bill signed into law by Governor Granholm, specific fines are levied against drivers found guilty of this driving behavior. First time offenders will be hit with a $100 civil fine, with subsequent violations costing them $200. The law does not contain any language describing other consequences including points on drivers licenses, license suspensions, or anything of that nature. At this point, the Michigan law is strictly financial in its punitive end. But it is a starting point, and it demonstrates once again how the public mood has shifted in recent months toward the practice and toward cell phone use in cars in general.

Federal Policy and Texting

The U.S. Department of Transportation is fully in support of state measures banning text messaging while driving. Leadership in the department favors rewarding states that pass these sorts of bans and even believes federal funding should be withheld from states that continue to permit the practice. That in itself is an interesting corollary because it speaks to the ever evolving debate around states' rights against those of the federal government. If the Transportation department got its way, auto law would be less of a states' rights issue and the federal government would have much greater power to rule on matters such as these. Nevertheless, the widespread backing across the country for texting bans continues to move forward.

Federal staffers in the government are already banned from sending and receiving text messages while they drive as of the end of 2009 when the executive order signed by President Obama went into effect. That order has been somewhat of a catalyst for the continued public spotlight on the issue and the attention it keeps getting in the media and in the government at state and federal levels. Bus drivers and commercial truck drivers also cannot legally use handheld cell phones or text while driving their vehicles. The main goal of all of these bans is public safety. It is widely believed that the practice is dangerous and that it places the texting driver and all other motorists he shares the road with at risk.

Public Support for Texting Bans

Any attention that is diverted from the task of operating an automobile is attention that can't be spent focusing on the road ahead and on any dangers or hazards that may be near. In polling performed in areas across the country, the public appears strongly behind the issue, one of the reasons it has gained so much momentum in political circles. This kind of public mandate rarely escapes the detection and acknowledgment of political types, representatives who are theoretically working on behalf of their constituents.

As the new text messaging law takes effect in Michigan and other similar laws continue to be on the books in other states, one of the most pertinent questions that remain to be addressed is one of enforcement. Many critics in the minority who have consistently opposed these laws say that they are unenforceable. It will probably be necessary to poll drivers in Michigan and in other states with texting bans to get feedback on how much the new law might affect their decisions with the cell phone and specifically with text messaging. It will also be interesting to see if any new data emerges from insurance companies regarding the financial cost of text messaging and any accidents it causes on consumers' auto insurance premiums. As the topic continues to shift and evolve, more light will emerge and some of these questions will be answered in time.


FREE Quotes, Multiple Insurers

Zip Code