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Lawmakers Plan Ways To Make Michigan Roads Safer

Cars on freeway

Lawmakers in Lansing want to make Michigan roads safer.

Republican Senator Margaret O’Brien (R-Portage) hopes to wrap up bills to make bicyclists safer on the roads soon. Legislation is working its way through the Legislature that would require vehicles give bicyclists three feet of room when they pass.

“Each week I open the news and it seems like another bicyclist has been hit by a motorist,” she said.

O’Brien said she thinks the bill will head to the governor’s desk soon. So now she wants to focus on distracted driving. O’Brien introduced legislation back in November that would increase penalties for distracted driving. Another bill, sponsored by Senator David Knezek (D-Dearborn Heights) and co-sponsored by O’Brien, would update the law to specify that drivers cannot use internet-based devices like computers and tablets while driving.

Texting and other use of cell phones while driving is already banned. The law says: A person shall not read, manually type, or send a text message on a wireless 2-way communication device that is located in the person’s hand or in the person’s lap, including a wireless telephone used in cellular telephone service or personal communication service, while operating a motor vehicle.

But lawmakers say it’s important that the law be clear about other devices.

“So that type of technology that we have, our laws just haven’t been updated for,” O’Brien said. “So I’m gonna work to learn the concerns and hopefully we can make amendments that address it and make it across the finish line.”

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County.
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