Cell phone ban for teen drivers in Michigan
Talking on a cell phone while driving can be a dangerous distraction, especially for novice drivers.
On January 8, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed a law that bans cell phone use for anyone driving on a level 1 or level 2 graduated driver license in Michigan. The new Michigan law allows for primary enforcement by police, though in most cases it will be enforced after the detection of another moving violation.
"We should be doing everything we can to make sure beginning drivers are focused on learning how to drive," said Snyder in a news release. "I believe this law will help them gain that experience while reinforcing their responsibilities behind the wheel."
The new Michigan law, Public Act 592 of 2012, will take effect in late March. A violation of the law will result in a civil infraction to be determined by the local jurisdiction. No points will be assigned to the driver's record, and drivers will not be punished for using a vehicle's integrated hands-free phone system or for using cell phones to report an emergency.
Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teens aged 15 to 19 in America. Distraction from driving contributes to a lot of crashes involving young drivers, says UMTRI research professor Ray Bingham, who is head of the Young Driver Behavior and Injury Prevention Group.
"Anything that diverts a driver's attention away from the road increases the risk of crashing," says Bingham. "It's important that inexperienced, young drivers focus on the task of driving and not engage in any other activities while driving."
Bingham and colleagues at the Michigan Department of Community Health have created the Checkpoints Program, an evidence-based, safety program that provides tools and resources for parents and their teen drivers. See www.saferdrivingforteens.org.
Photo credit: UMTRI Young Driver Behavior and Injury Prevention Group.