Amidst a jobless economy, scandal of a mayor, and a continuous spiral of untimely deaths, Detroit residents are now having to comply with new laws: two major bans. On May 1, 2010, smoking was banned from public places, leaving the local casinos the only public place left for smokers to light-up.
Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm signed the smoking ban legislation, making Michigan the 38th state to do so. Named after the chief medical officer of the Michigan Department of Health, The Ron M. Davis Law prohibits smoking in public places, including restaurants and bars … outrage for the smokers, you say? Or an outcry of relief from non-smokers?
Soon after the ban took effect, the news media were at the local hotspots to see if the ban had affected business. According to reporting business owners and staffers, business had not been affected by the ban; many claimed that the crowd of ‘regulars’ had actually been smokers, and were still in their regular spots after the ban. There were a few smoking customers who admitted to stepping outside to smoke, and then re-entering the establishment.
But, smokers get a break when entertaining in the local casinos. Michigan has 20 American-Indian casinos that are not covered by state law, which leaves them ranking number one for public places for smokers to light-up. The exemption only covers the gaming floors for Detroit’s three casinos. All other affiliates of the casinos are smoke-free: restaurants, bars, hotels and eateries.
The Ron M. Davis Law has other exemptions included. Tobacco specialty shops, cigar bars and home offices are among them, and motor vehicles is also an exemption.
Motor vehicles may be exempt from the smoking ban, but they are the core of the texting ban. As part of Michigan’s Governor Jennifer Granholm’s 2009-2012 Michigan Highway Safety Plan, the texting ban will assist in a goal of reducing traffic fatalities from 1,084 in 2007, to 850 in 2012. The plan also has a goal in reducing serious traffic injuries from 7,485 in 2007, to 5,900 in 2012.
House Bill 4394, which amends the Michigan Vehicle Code, took effect on July 1, 2010. Granholm signed the bill that names Michigan as the 24th state to prohibit dangerous behavior behind the wheel. Yes Michigan drivers, this means you are prohibited from reading, typing, or sending text messages using a wireless two-way communication device [including wireless phone located in driver’s hand, or lap] while operating a moving motor vehicle – on a street, or highway in the state of Michigan. If you are [caught], you’ll be facing a $100 fine for the first offense. Although facing a costly fine, drivers will not have points added to the drivers license, nor will the infraction be posted to your driving record.
According to Michigan State Police website, Michigan Crash Data captures information relative to cell phone usage, but not as detailed as to giving information on what activity was being made by driver at the time of the crash; the state recorded 947 people were using cell phones at the time of a crash in 2009.
Driver distraction has three many types: taking your eyes off the road (visual); taking your hands off the wheel (manual); and taking your mind off what you’re doing (cognitive). Stay safe and healthy Michigan, the laws are trying to keep you that way!