Michigan bill would eliminate ‘archaic’ driving law

September 11, 2020

Keith Goble

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A Michigan driving law that is described as “archaic” could soon be gone for good.

At issue is Michigan statute that requires the driver of an overtaking vehicle to provide an audible signal to the driver of an overtaken vehicle to give way to the right.

The Senate Transportation Committee voted unanimously on Thursday, Sept. 10, to advance a bill to eliminate the requirement. Essentially, slower drivers in the left lane of roadways would be required to move right even when they haven’t been honked at to move over.

The effort to eliminate the Michigan driving law from the books is the second attempt by Rep. Robert Wittenberg, D-Huntington Woods, in as many sessions to change the law. House lawmakers approved the previous effort, but the bill did not come up for a vote in the Senate.

During committee discussion this week, Wittenberg said the bill deals with archaic law that is not needed.

“When you are passing someone on the road, you actually have to give someone an audible signal,” he testified. “That includes honking or yelling out the window.”

Wittenberg added that the State Police does not enforce the law.

“Most people do not even know it is on the books.”

Advocates add that the requirement of an audible signal when a vehicle is overtaken and passed dates from an era before vehicles came equipped standard with mirrors. Additionally, they say that giving someone an audible signal when passing will usually result in a visual signal in response.

The bill, HB4395, next heads to the Senate floor. If approved there, it would head to the governor’s desk. House lawmakers already approved the bill.

More Land Line coverage of news from Michigan is available.

Keith Goble

Keith Goble has been covering trucking-related laws since 2000. His daily web reports, radio news and “OOIDA’s State Watch” in Land Line Magazine are the industry’s premier sources for information regarding state legislative affairs.