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Gov. Whitmer says Michigan needs to act faster to combat distracted driving "crisis"

Many states have cracked down on distracted driving.
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Governor Gretchen Whitmer says she’d like to sign a law that does more to discourage distracted driving on Michigan roads.

She met on Thursday with a group of advocates on the question.

They included family members of people killed as a result of driving while distracted by electronic devices.

“Distracted driving, you know the numbers, is the number one killer of young people in our country. Ten people are killed in our country every day because of a distracted driver,” she says.

The governor says distracted driving has become a crisis, and Michigan is not moving as quickly as other states to address it.

“Twenty-one other states are ahead of us. Twenty-one. Michigan should be a leader in all things mobility-related – whether it is the roads, or the vehicles that are on our roads, or the policy that’s keeping people safe on our roads,” says Whitmer.

But the governor’s office also says she’s not ready to endorse any particular approach.

A distracted driving package of bills was adopted late last year by the state House with bipartisan votes. The bills are now before the state Senate.

The bills would expand existing rules that already cover bus drivers and commercial vehicle operators.

They would also place more restrictions on teenagers’ use of cell phones while they’re driving.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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