Bill Backed by Car Insurance Cos. Approved by Mich. Legislators

Michigan state sealA bill strengthening Michigan’s graduated licensing system was approved this week by the state House of Representatives. If it is passed by the state senate and signed into law, teenage drivers would face more stringent restrictions on when they can drive and the circumstances under which they can carry passengers under the age of 21.

The law currently prohibits new drivers in certain stages of the graduated licensing process from driving between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m., but under the provisions of the bill, that curfew would be moved up to 10 p.m. In addition, they would also not be allowed to carry more than one passenger who is under 21 unless going to or from school or to or from a school-sanctioned function.

As has been pointed out by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the likelihood of a teenage motorist getting into an accident is higher than that of any other age group, and their likelihood is further increased when teenagers drive late at night or with a number of young passengers in the car.

Many auto insurance coverage providers operating in the state support the Michigan bill. But, as insurance provider AAA pointed out in a press release commending legislators on their recent action, a pivotal provision that would have restricted cell phone use by 16-year-olds was cut before the vote.

When it comes to regulating the use of cell phones behind the wheel, 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.

The Detroit News pointed out that the passing of the legislation may be partly attributed to a recent spate of high-profile crashes in the state that has reinvigorated safe-driving experts and advocates. Approval from the senate is still required before legislation will reach the governor’s desk.

About Ben Zitney
Benjamin Zitney has been covering the auto insurance industry for the past 2.5 years. Before coming to Online Auto Insurance News, he produced an extensive company history of the 30-year-old California Joint Powers Insurance Authority and worked at the Cal State Long Beach Daily Forty-Niner as a reporter, copy editor and news editor.

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