When Driving, Just Drive

The danger of text messaging while driving has received national attention. Since common sense didn’t prevail in stopping this activity, our Governor recently signed a law that makes text messaging while driving a civil infraction.

I am sure most people have witnessed drivers who do other things while driving than just drive. And for those clever readers, I am talking about things other than the normal bodily functions like breathing. People change the radio station, adjust the AC, eat, or smoke while driving. Some correct children. (You can tell because the adult driving appears to be yelling at the windshield while children are crying in the backseat.) All of which take our eyes off the road briefly.

A few act like driving is actually a secondary activity when operating a car. I saw a woman put on mascara, which for those who don’t use it, is an activity that requires a steady hand and keen focus to keep from injuring oneself. I was briefly impressed by her multitasking skills until she started crossing the center line toward my vehicle. The one that really shocked me was a driver on I-94 heading toward Ann Arbor who was reading a book, propped up on his steering wheel, while traveling 70 miles per hour. Needless to say, I stayed clear of this fellow.

Effective July 1, 2010, the police can pull over a driver for reading, typing or sending a text message on a “wireless 2 way communication” device while driving. This does not include reading a global positioning or navigation device. Your first ticket will cost you $100 plus court costs. Any subsequent ticket will cost you $200 plus court costs.

Of course there are a few exceptions to this law. You can text message to report a traffic incident, medical emergency or serious road hazard. You can also report a situation where your personal safety is in jeopardy or if you are reporting or trying to prevent the perpetration of a crime. Also, law enforcement, fire safety and operators of emergency vehicles, who are acting in their official duties, are exempt from the new law.

Curtis & Curtis, P.C. is a full service law firm located in Jackson, Michigan providing superior legal services and advice to individuals, families and businesses throughout mid-Michigan since 1901.

This publication is provided for general informational purposes only and does not constitute formal legal or other professional advice. No attorney-client relationship is created with you when you read this information. The above information may be changed without notice and is not guaranteed to be complete, correct or up-to-date, and may not reflect the most current legal developments. If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact Curtis & Curtis, P.C.

Categories: Traffic Offenses