New 2011 Michigan Driving Laws: Drunk Driving, Teen Driver Limits

As of January, Michigan law enforcement agencies are taking a new approach to bringing down fatal drunk driving statistics in Michigan. The Michigan Legislature approved a new pilot program that will require convicted drunk drivers to install ignition interlock devices on their vehicles. Michigan lawmakers also approved a bill restricting teenage drivers.

Michigan Requires DUI Offenders to Install Ignition Interlock Devices on Vehicles

Michigan lawmakers passed legislation now requiring convicted drunk drivers to install ignition interlock devices on their motor vehicles. Ignition interlock legislation has become extremely popular as state after state has enacted laws requiring their use. An ignition interlock device requires the driver to blow into a device that measures the breath alcohol content (BAC) of the driver's breath sample. When alcohol is detected in the breath sample, the ignition interlock device disables the vehicle so that it cannot be started or driven.

Advocates of this technology, including Michigan's MADD organization, are praising it for its ability to prevent intoxicated drivers from getting on Michigan roads and highways, deterring the occurrence of serious drunk driver accidents and personal injuries.

Michigan Teens Need To Be Off the Roads Before 10 p.m.

Lawmakers also enacted laws that require Michigan teens to give up the keys earlier in the night: all 16-year-old and 17-year-old drivers who have been driving independently for less than one year (referred to as a level 2 graduated license) cannot drive between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Teens with less than one year of driving experience used to be able to drive until midnight.

The law also prohibits teens with the level 2 graduated license from carrying more than one other passenger that is under 21-years-old. Exceptions apply for family members and for teens traveling to and from school and school-sanctioned events. The new law went into effect on March 30.

Michigan transportation officials support the law in an effort to bring down the number of teen car accidents and fatalities. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, "the most dangerous driver on the road is a 16-year-old." Michigan has lagged behind other states that enacted teen graduated licensing laws, but that has clearly changed with this new law.

Car Accident Victims Should Take Action

Experts urge motor vehicle accident victims to contact a lawyer after a car accident, and certainly before accepting any agreement with the at-fault party or insurance company. Whether you or a loved one is seriously injured by an intoxicated, inexperienced or negligent driver, an experienced Michigan personal injury attorney can help you explore all potential avenues of legal recourse.