STATE SENATOR SYLVIA SANTANA MICHIGAN DRIVERS NEWSLETTER

Dear Constituents,

I’m honored to serve as your state senator in Lansing. This newsletter provides information about the new auto insurance laws, the new driver’s license requirements, and laws that you could be ticketed for.

I want all of my constituents to have this knowledge and pass it along to your friends and family.

If I can be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact my office. You can reach me by phone at (517) 373-0990, or by email at SenSSantana@senate.michigan.gov.

Warmest regards,

Sylvia Santana
State Senator District 3

Toll-free: (855) Dist003 or (855) 347-8003
Website: SenatorSantana.com
Email: SenSSantana@senate.michigan.gov


New License Requirements Delayed to 2021

A federal law to establish security protocols to prevent the copying or altering of IDs, known as a REAL ID, was set to begin enforcement this fall, but has been delayed a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This means that beginning October 1, 2021, all Michigan residents will need a REAL ID-compliant document to fly within the United States, or to enter certain facilities like military bases or nuclear plants. If you already have an enhanced driver’s license, you already have a REAL ID.

To obtain a REAL ID, take your Michigan driver’s license or ID card, and proof of your Social Security number, citizenship, or legal presence to a Secretary of State office. For more information, visit the Secretary of State’s website at Michigan.gov/SOS.

Auto Insurance Updates

For several years, how to lower your auto insurance has been heavily debated. In 2019, for the first time in decades, the legislature was presented with a real opportunity to enact meaningful changes to what many would say has led to an unfair auto insurance law. On May 30 of that year, the No-Fault Auto Insurance Reform Bill was signed into law.

As your state senator, I spent long hours researching, developing, and advancing ideas to the forefront of every discussion. One idea I am especially proud of was my amendment that removed sex as a factor that could be used when determining rates for group or franchise policies. It was approved, meaning insurance companies will no longer be able to engage in rate-setting practices that disproportionately and unfairly charge women excessive rates simply based on their gender.

This law overhauled Michigan’s no-fault auto insurance system and was designed to lower its costs. It prohibits insurers from using sex, marital status, home ownership, credit score, educational level, occupation, or ZIP Code when creating rates on any type of auto insurance policy.

You can expect RATE ROLLBACKS of:

This law should bring some relief to the people of our district
and hopefully make their lives a little bit easier. Drivers can call
(833) ASK-DIFS (275-3437), email autoinsurance@michigan.gov, or visit Michigan.gov/AutoInsurance for more details on changes to the law.


Tips for Safe Driving

If you are pulled over: Below are some safety tips and information recommended by the Michigan State Police that can help to make traffic stops less stressful and safer for everyone.

When you first see emergency lights behind you, pull over to the right side of the road as soon as it is safe to do so. Stay in the vehicle and turn off any music that may be playing. Roll down the window where the officer (often the driver’s side) is approaching and keep your hands in sight, preferably on the steering wheel.

Provide your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance when requested by the officer. It is okay to inquire about the reason for the stop after you have provided your information if the officer has not already told you the reason for the stop. Speaking in a manner of respect, the same in which you expect to be spoken to, is always advised.

The best place to dispute a citation is in court. Do not argue the reason for the administration of a citation during a traffic stop.

At the end of a traffic stop, the officer will give you permission to leave and will likely remain on the side of the road with lights activated until you safely re-enter traffic. Make sure to follow all traffic laws including, but not limited to, using your turn signal and seat belt before pulling out.

You have the right to follow up a traffic stop with a phone call to the officer’s supervisor if you feel they acted inappropriately or unfairly toward you.


Attention Michigan Drivers

To prevent you from getting a ticket, I have laid out some of the acts you should know to keep yourself safe and avoid getting a ticket

Maintaining a 3-foot distance when passing a bicyclist
This act is to ensure the safety of bicyclists by keeping motorists at a safe distance. If you are driving by a bicyclist, check to see if your neighboring lane is empty, and move three feet away from them. If the lane is occupied, do your best to move as far away as possible, and slow down to a safe speed.

Public Act 279 of 2018 amended section 636 of the Vehicle Code to require a driver overtaking a bicycle proceeding in the same direction to pass at a safe distance of at least three feet when practical [MCL 257.636(2)].

Require vehicles to move over and slow down
Michigan law requires that, when approaching certain stationary vehicles, such as police officers, drivers should proceed with caution and yield the right-of-way by moving at least one lane or two vehicle widths apart from the stationary vehicle. If moving into another lane is not practical, the driver is required to reduce their speed.

Public Act 349 of 2018 added that drivers should move over and reduce their speed by at least 10 mph below the speed limit [MCL 257.653a(a) and MCL 257.653b(a)]. When passing a stopped emergency vehicle, be sure to slow down and move into the next lane when possible. This ensures the safety of police, fire, and paramedics who are stopped on the side of the road.

Obstructed view
Driving with obstructed vision is dangerous and can lead to a ticket. Make sure all objects are out of your line of sight before operating a motor vehicle.

Drivers are prohibited from operating a vehicle with an object that obstructs their vision, except as authorized by law [MCL 257.706(1)(c)]. This section was last amended by Public Act 258 of 2010.

Prohibition of texting while driving
Texting while driving is extremely dangerous, as it takes your eyes off the road and causes thousands of accidents and deaths per year. Make sure to wait to text or look at your phone until you are no longer behind the wheel.

Section 602b of the Vehicle Code prohibits a person from reading, manually typing, or sending a text message while driving (MCL 257.602b).

Clear license plate
If a license plate is not visible or in the wrong position, the police will give you a ticket. Make sure your license plate is in the proper position when you attach it to your vehicle.

MCL 257.225 requires license plates to be clearly visible and positioned a certain way. This section was amended by Public Act 147 of 2018 to clarify that, “the attachment to the rear of a vehicle of a tow ball, bicycle rack, removable hitch, or any other device designed to carry an object on the rear of a vehicle, including the object being carried, does not violate this subsection.”

Railroad emergency
This section isn’t about a state law, but informs you about what
to do in the event of a railroad emergency. The blue and white emergency signs located at railroad crossings are a result of federal rulemaking dating back to 2012. They provide a 1-800 emergency phone number to call in case of an incident at the tracks. Calling this number will enable railroad workers to stop trains and contact emergency responders, if necessary. If you ever witness an accident at a railroad crossing, please do not hesitate to use this emergency system.


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