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Distracted driving bills could come up again

Driving
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Texting while driving

Bipartisan-sponsored bills to ban hands-on phone use while driving in Michigan could see a second shot at a House vote this week.

A first attempt last week was postponed after some Democratic lawmakers held out over profiling concerns associated with giving police more chances to stop someone.

Representative Emily Dievendorf (D-Lansing) is among them. They said they support the bills’ intent but aren’t ready to vote for the package yet.

“We would like to make sure that there is legislation addressing police accountability now and then get back to these other bills that add more rights for police to pull people over and more consequences for our community members,” Dievendorf said.

The ACLU shared similar fears.

Meanwhile, some Republicans worried about whether penalties for distracted driving would be too high.

Package sponsors, however, maintain the bills would save lives.

Representative Matt Koleszar (D-Plymouth) said his fingers are crossed a deal gets worked out soon.

“There’s still a lot of conversations going on about these bills, how to make them better and make sure that we can get popular support. That’s what we want. Hopefully bipartisan support. I think bipartisan support’s the key here that we want because this is a nonpartisan issue. We’re talking about saving lives,” Koleszar said.

Under the package, activities like scrolling social media at a stoplight or making a video call while behind the wheel would become illegal.

Three infractions within three years could lead to a license suspension.

There would be exceptions for hands free phone use.

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Colin Jackson is the Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network.
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