Michigan teens can win college scholarship by discouraging distracted driving online

Kelsey’s Law inspires scholarship opportunity aimed at making roads safer

While using your phone while driving in Michigan is still not against the law, it is for teens.

Under Kelsey’s Law, drivers in Michigan between the ages of 16 and 18 years old can get a ticket for using their phones while driving. But despite Kelsey’s Law, teenagers are still the most vulnerable age group when it comes to distracted driving crashes.

In an effort to end distracted driving among teens, law firm Michigan Auto Law is offering scholarships to students who promote safer driving habits online.

The law firm is giving away $5,000 worth of college scholarships to high school students who are graduating in 2023. To win a scholarship, the students are asked to use social media to talk to each other about the dangers of distracted driving.

“You know, unfortunately, we have to talk to a lot of people who are victims of distracted driving and negligence, and it’s life changing,” said Brandon Hewitt, COO of Michigan Auto Law.

According to Hewitt, the idea for the college scholarships began several years ago after a 17-year-old from Sault Ste. Marie was killed in a car crash.

“It was born out of a tragedy,” Hewitt said. “Unfortunately, Kelsey Raffaele died in a distracted driving crash some years ago. And since 2016, we’ve partnered with her mom to offer the scholarship.”

Raffaele was the inspiration behind Kelsey’s Law. Now, the scholarships seek to serve as a reminder of where that law came from, and why distracted driving is dangerous.

Those hoping to win a scholarship can submit a tweet, an image or a YouTube video to be considered. Applicants have until the end of March to apply for the scholarship, and winners will be announced in April.

“Some of these videos that they submit are just unbelievable, the way that they edit them down and bring in real life stories and use their friends to make these videos,” Hewitt said. “It’s just really incredible.

“We actually review them with Kelsey’s mom, so she helps make the decision as to the overall winner, which is really fantastic.”

Hewitt says distracted driving appears to be getting worse. That’s why Michigan Auto Law wants to do their part to help teens follow Kelsey’s Law and make the roads safer.

“What we want to do is make the world safer, right? And the reason we bring claims and lawsuits is because we want to advocate for safer habits and safer driving,” Hewitt said. “So, we think that the the anti-texting law that is sitting in the Legislature right now is great. It’s basically applying Kelsey’s Law to all drivers.”

Click here to learn more about the scholarship and how to apply.

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