Mich. Senate Approves Licensing Bill Backed by Auto Insurance Cos.

Michigan state seal on blue background

A bill aimed at strengthening Michigan’s graduated licensing system gained approval from the state senate on Thursday and now moves to the governor’s desk to be signed into law. If the bill does become law, teenage drivers would face stricter restrictions on how late they can drive and the circumstances under which they can carry passengers under the age of 21.

Existing Michigan law has a midnight curfew for new drivers in certain stages of the graduated licensing process, but under the provisions of the bill, it would be moved up to 10 p.m. In addition, beginning drivers also would be prohibited from carrying more than one non-family passenger who is under 21 unless going to or from school or to or from a school-sanctioned function.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a teenage motorist’s likelihood of getting into an accident is higher than that of any other age group, and it is further increased when driving late at night or with a number of young passengers in the car. As a result, teenagers have been considered a high risk car insurance group and have been subject to higher-than-average rates.

Many car insurance companies operating in the state support the Michigan bill. But insurance provider AAA pointed out in a press release applauding legislators for advancing the bill that a pivotal provision that would have restricted cell phone use by 16-year-olds was cut before the House voted on the bill.

Though restrictions on hand-held phone use have been spreading across the country, Michigan currently has a ban only on texting, which extends to all drivers. Twenty-nine states have enacted laws banning cell phone use for beginning drivers, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

About John Pirro
John Pirro is a licensed fire and casualty insurance agent specializing in various aspects of the auto insurance industry. He worked in the auto body repair industry before taking a reporting position at Online Auto Insurance News.

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