A news service for the people of Michigan from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Driving while talking on a cell phone could get you a ticket in Troy starting July 29.

So could eating while driving, combing your hair, reading a map or putting on makeup if the motorists can't maintain control of their vehicle, according to a new city ordinance recently passed.

Troy Police Lt. Michael Lyczkowski said the police department supports the new ordinance because they found that many accidents were caused by such behavior.

"It's a public safety issue," Lyczkowski said. "It's not a revenue generator. The type of behavior we are writing under the new ordinance could classify as careless or reckless driving, which have larger fines."

The ticket will not come with points but the fee hasn't been determined yet, Lyczkowski said.

The ordinance has language that includes "highways" so the six-mile stretch of I-75 that goes through Troy city limits would be included. Generally, state police patrol highways but there have been instances where state police work with local police on sting operations.

The ordinance has three parts.

The first bans texting while driving, which is the same as the state law.

The second bans the hand-use of a cell phone.

The third includes behavior that makes motorists unable to maintain control of their car.

Troy resident Stephanie Jasky said the third component was way too subjective.

"You are talking about an extremely broad law," she said. "You are trying to control people's behavior inside their vehicle. I really fail to see how any police office is going to see inside someone's car."

"It is like more and more freedoms are being taken away," Jasky said. "All of us will feel like we are in a nanny state and will cause resentment to the police and that's not good."

The Michigan Education Association says members may leave only in the month of August. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy has set up www.AugustOptOut.org to help inform MEA members of their rights.


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