driving

Offbeat
10:52 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Snow, ice create hazardous driving conditions in parts of Michigan

www.parkwhiz.com

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - Snow and ice are creating hazardous driving conditions in Michigan.

MLive.com reports 10 slide-offs and minor crashes Monday morning across parts of western Michigan.

No serious injuries were immediately reported. Much of western Michigan is fresh off of seeing anywhere from 1 to 4 inches of snow on Sunday. Slippery roads also were reported in other parts of the state, including the Detroit and Kalamazoo areas.

The National Weather Service says the most snow is forecast in parts of Michigan's Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula, where advisories urging caution were issued. By the time the snow wraps up Monday, a total of 3 to 8 inches is expected in Chippewa and Mackinac counties.

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Stateside
2:57 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Sterling Heights has a multilingual driving school

Anyone who lives in Michigan knows you are at a real disadvantage if you don’t have a driver’s license.

But, let’s say you are an Iraqi who has fled to the U.S. to escape the violence. You’re trying to launch your new life here and you need a way to get to a job or get your kids to school. You need a driver’s license, but you haven’t lived here long enough to get fluent in English. So how do you get on the road?

That’s where you might turn to John Bitti. He runs the Madamma Driving School in Sterling Heights, and he teaches would-be drivers in English, Arabic, or Chaldean. 

Listen to the full interview above.

Economy
1:03 pm
Sun September 1, 2013

Driving down nearly 7% in Michigan

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Advocates say Michigan policymakers should wake up to the fact that residents are driving less and start focusing on public transit and biking alternatives.

Per-person driving miles in Michigan are down nearly 7% since 2005. It's a trend occurring across the U.S.

Some researchers say the changes are mostly a reflection of the economy and driving could bounce back. Others say the decline in driving reflects fundamental changes in the way Americans view the automobile.

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Stateside
6:11 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

The self-driving car is no longer a thing of fiction

A Google driverless car.
Wikipedia

An interview with Dr. Peter Sweatman and Richard Wallace.

Are you ready to let your car do the driving?

Once we thought of the self-driving car as something from science fiction. But technological breakthroughs have been coming at ever-increasing speeds.

Google expects its driverless car will be ready for consumers in the next 3-5 years. GM thinks intelligent vehicles will be on the roads by 2020. Ford predicts 2025.

And researchers at the University of Michigan are making sure the Great Lakes State is front-and-center in developing and testing the connected vehicle technology that is essential to the self-driving car.

The director of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, Dr. Peter Sweatman, and Richard Wallace, the director of Transportation Systems Analysis for the Center for Automotive Research, joined us today to talk about the future of transportation.

Listen to the full interview above.

Transportation
4:11 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

New study indicates that Americans drive less than they used to

People are driving less, according to a recent Umich study.
Zelda Richardson

A new study from the University of Michigan suggests that Americans who drive light-duty vehicles (cars, SUVS, pick-up trucks, and vans) don't drive as far as they used to. 

The study, from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (MTRI), was published this month, and looks at national driving trends from 1984-2011. 

According to MTRI's findings, the distance people drove peaked in 2004. Distances were evaluated based on how much a person, a licensed driver, a household and a registered vehicle traveled. 

The major takeaway from the study is that because distances decreased before the 2008 recession, the lower numbers weren't a result of a short-term issue. Essentially, the lower distances driven seem to be a part of a longer term trend. 

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Law
2:32 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Michigan ban on teen drivers using cell phones starts tomorrow

Bonnie Raffaele speaks at a news conference announcing an education campaign for "Kelsey's Law". The law is named for Raffaele's daughter, who died in a 2010 car accident while using her cell phone.

A new state law takes effect tomorrow that bans teenage drivers from talking on a cell phone behind the wheel.

“Kelsey’s law” is named for an Upper Peninsula teen who died in a car accident while using her mobile phone in 2010.

Kelsey’s mother, Bonnie Raffaele, lobbied hard for the law.

“Kelsey’s law will undoubtedly save lives,” says Bonnie Raffaele, “We may not know the exact number that it will save, but we know that it will save lives.”

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Transportation
4:08 pm
Wed June 20, 2012

Michigan police: 8,050 citations in seat belt crackdown

Of those stopped in 2011, 94.5 percent of drivers were buckled up.
user Gerdbrendel Wikimedia Commons

State police say an annual Michigan enforcement crackdown on motorists who fail to use seat belts and child safety seats led to 8,050 citations. That's down about 1,000 from 2011.

This year's Click It or Ticket campaign ran from May 21 to June 1.

State police say they have reports from law enforcement agencies in 26 counties. They say a preliminary count shows that officers stopped 14,761 vehicles during the crackdown.

The state has reported a slight drop in the rate of seat belt law compliance, from a record-high 97.9 percent in 2009 to 94.5 percent in 2011.

The enforcement effort led to a number of other citations, including 95 drunken driving arrests and 53 drug arrests. Thy also cited about 1,000 insurance violations and 535 suspended license violations.

medical marijuana
6:28 am
Mon March 14, 2011

Safe under medical marijuana laws, and driving laws?

Is it against the law for medical marijuana patients to drive if they've smoked earier that day?
Craig Finlay Creative Commons

Michigan’s medical marijuana law allows people to use the drug, but motor vehicle laws forbid driving with any marijuana in your system. The legal battle could head to the State Court of Appeals.

Rodney Koon was pulled over for speeding a little over a year ago. Officers in Traverse City found a pipe in his pocket so he showed them his medical marijuana card. The Traverse City Eagle-Record says Koon was charged with driving under the influence of a schedule one controlled substance (others include ecstasy, heroin, and LSD) after a drug test revealed he had marijuana in his system.

A county judge ruled the state’s medical marijuana law protects Koon from prosecution. He said prosecutors need to have more solid evidence a driver is impaired while driving. State driving laws say people can’t drive with even a trace amount of schedule one controlled substances in their system.  

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is supporting the Grand Traverse County Prosecutor’s appeal to the State Court of Appeals. He says Koon isn’t “being prosecuted for using marijuana, but for driving shortly after using it.”

Winter Weather
6:58 am
Fri March 11, 2011

Snow brings dangerous driving conditions to early commute

A winter storm has hit parts of the state this Friday morning
LisaW123 Flickr

A winter storm has brought a few inches of snow and dangerous early-morning driving conditions to parts of the state. The Associated Press reports:

The National Weather Service says southeast Michigan was feeling the effects of the storm Friday morning, with an inch or more on the ground as the morning commute began. The snow left slippery driving conditions in its wake and numerous weather-related spinouts and crashes were reported.

The state's Thumb area and Port Huron were expected to get the most snow. The weather service says 5 to 7 inches could fall in that area. Winds contributed to hazardous conditions.

The Detroit News reports:

As much as 4 inches of snow fell overnight as a fast-moving system heads from the Ohio Valley into Canada, with Metro Detroit on the outer edge of the system.

The snow is expected to taper off this morning, but not before some parts of the region see a total of as much as 7 inches snow, said meteorologist Steve Considine of the National Weather Service reporting station in White Lake Township.

"It is winding down now," he said about 6:15 a.m. today. "About 2-4 inches will fall in much of Metro Detroit and higher in Macomb County."

St. Clair and Sanilac counties could see a total of 5-7 inches, Considine said, because of how the storm is moving.

Blowing snow could be a problem this morning because winds are blowing at 25-30 mph, Considine said.

Temperatures were in the 20s this morning but expected to climb near 40 degrees this afternoon, Considine said. A snowy rain is expected later this evening.

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Auto/Economy
4:38 pm
Tue January 4, 2011

Troy police enforce "distracted driving" law, issue tickets

It's illegal to text or talk on the phone while driving in Troy, MI
C. Todd Lopez Photo courtesy of U.S. Army

The city of Troy, Michigan has taken the state’s “no texting while driving” law a bit further, making it illegal to talk on the phone while driving, among other things.

The city's distracted driving ordinance went into effect last July, but the city didn’t officially start to enforce it until the first week of January, 2011. According to the city's website, the following actions can cause "distracted driving":

"Such action can include but is not limited to: eating, reading, writing, performing personal hygiene/grooming, physical interaction with pets, passengers, or unsecured cargo, any of which is

done in a manner tat prohibits the driver from maintaining direct physical control of the motor vehicle steering mechanism with at least one hand that is free of all other objects and used entirely to form a controlled grip on the steering mechanism."

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