Bicyclists Are Loving The State Of Michigan
Lance Armstrong will love this. Tony Kornheiser might not (though he doesn’t seem much like a texter to me; he would love this, however). But the Michigan House just passed a law banning texting while driving. It’s not law yet, but it’s close. And if it passes police will be able to slap a fine on anyone more focused on their thumbs than on the road (and that cyclist praying she is not about to get creamed).
This is important. Because according to this study:
- driver inattention led to 8 out of 10 crashes in the US, and was involved in 65% of near-misses
- in 2008 distracted drivers caused 5,870 deaths
- there’s not much difference between using a cell phone while driving and drinking a few beers (and it doesn’t matter if you use hands-free, though it does for the beers)
- professional truck drivers who text are 23 times more likely to crash, or come close to crashing
Similar laws are being looked at in a bunch of other states, so getting Michigan’s law on the books and seeing how it affects the numbers of car crashes (and crashed cyclists) will be key.
The challenge will of course be enforcement. So in the interests of societal advancement I offer the following additional proposal: offer drastically reduced auto insurance premiums to anyone who promises to shut off their phone when they are in their car (and allow their auto insurance holder to verify the status of their phone if they are involved in an accident). Save drivers $100 on their annual premium and lots would make that pledge (and I’d hike the rates on those who don’t. Hah!).