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In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

R U A Texting Driver?

  To text while driving or not to text while driving.
  Let's be blunt, that should not be the question.  There is no choice.
  Later this month, a house committee here will consider legislation to ban texting while driving. The sponsor wants to slap a $100 fine on the practice, which is really chump change, but here is the killer: Rep. Gino Polidori also wants two-points added to your driving record if you get nabbed.
   Now he has everyone's attention including the committee chair who is not so sure what she will support…and where she lands will be critical to the outcome of this life-saving debate.
    Polidori wants to make this a primary offense meaning the cops can haul you over for fiddling with your blackberry while you should be concentrating on the road.
   Chairwoman Rep. Pam Byrnes favors making it a secondary offense e.g. you have to run a red light or violated some other traffic law before you get ticketed for texting.
   The Chelsea democrat is also leery about the two-point penalty.  Without that and the primary status the texting ban will be next to useless..
   Years ago when they passed the seat belt law, it was a secondary offense and about 70% of the motorists obeyed the law.  As soon as they slapped on the primary offense, usage skyrocketed to over 95%.
   Doesn't everyone agree that seat belts saves lives?
   Doesn't everyone agree that texting while driving can save the life of the texter and maybe even your life if he or she slams into your car?
    Byrnes says she is not sure the ban is enforceable and some law enforcement types have shared the same concern with Polidori.
    He says this is simple:  If the cops see somebody with their hand off the wheel and their head looking down, pull them over.


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