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From our State Capitol in Lansing to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, WKAR is committed to explaining how the actions of lawmakers are affecting Michiganders. Political and government reporter Abigail Censky leads this section. There are also stories from Capitol correspondents Cheyna Roth, Rick Pluta and the Associated Press. As the 2020 presidential race begins, look here for reports on the role Michigan will play in electing or re-electing the president.

Lawmakers Introduce Statewide Ban On Handling Phones While Driving

Texting and Driving
Pixabay Creative Commons
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Michigan could become a completely hands-free driving state.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that the state needs to make distracted driving a priority during her address.

 

Democratic Representative Mari Manoogian introduced a bill that would ban any use of mobile devices – except in a voice-operated or hands-free mode – while driving. 

 

“The bill is really trying to get at making sure people aren’t looking down and typing extensively on their phones when they are driving a vehicle,” said Rep. Manoogian. 

 

There would be an exception for autonomous vehicles.

 

“We wanted to make sure that we included something in there that is forward thinking about the new technology hopefully in our state,” said Rep. Manoogian. 

 

The bill is currently waiting for a committee hearing in the state House. 

 

Senate Majority Leader, Republican Mike Shirkey said he’s more interested in a different ‘hands free’ issue.

 

“We need to have a serious discussion about encouraging parents putting limits on their kids having electronic devices in their hands all the time,” said Sen. Shirley. 

 

“In other words, kids should go hands free part of the day and do something besides looking at a screen. That’s the hands-free conversation we should have.”

 

It’s already illegal in Michigan to text while driving.

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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