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MI Senate approves texting ban as primary offense

By Laura Weber, Michigan Public Radio Network


The debate over a ban on texting-while-driving is getting more serious Thursday at the state Capitol. The Senate approved a ban that would allow police officers to pull a driver over for text messaging alone. Lawmakers have already approved a measure that would only allow a driver to be pulled over for texting if they were committing another offense, such as speeding.

Democratic state Senator Buzz Thomas worked on the text messaging ban. He agrees texting-while-driving should be a more serious offense. But he says drivers need a few years to adjust.

"In Southeast Michigan alone, we have more than 7 million people using cell phones," he says. "Asking them tomorrow to suddenly completely change their behavior is not the best policy to maintain. We should be looking at phasing in, as we did seatbelts, as we change this societal, pervasive behavior."

The Senate did not allow for an adjustment period to the more serious texting ban. The bill now goes to the House for debate.

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