We know that talking on the phone while driving or texting while driving is distracting. But how distracting is it?
In a short test they conducted they found that texting and talking on the phone while driving was actually more dangerous when it came to stopping distances than drunk driving. Other studies have come to the same conclusion. This is a staggering fact given that most of the laws in Michigan focus on drunk driving.
The new texting while driving law serves as a slap on the wrist compared to much stricter drunk driving laws. If texting while driving is more dangerous than drunk driving, shouldn’t there be tougher penalties? It seems that the law is yet to catch up to this new technology.
Michigan should be commended, however, for at least having a texting while driving law. There are still 20 states that do not have laws at all when it comes to texting while driving. The next step will be tougher penalties and better enforcement.
The $100 fine for a first offense in Michigan is small in comparison to what a drunk driving ticket involves once you tack on legal fees. By increasing fines and penalties for texting while driving, Michigan law could try to deter people from this behavior. This would also encourage people to use hands free devices or new technology allowing you to text hands free by voice commands.
Enforcement mechanisms are also easier than you probably think. Devices that detect outgoing radiofrequency signals are cost effective and reliable. Studies also suggest that officers using the naked eye are reliable and effective. If texting while driving and talking on the phone while driving are more dangerous than drunk driving, shouldn’t our laws and enforcement policies reflect it?