Family fights for hands-free legislation in Michigan after son killed by distracted driver

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DETROIT – A local father is working to change the law in Michigan regarding distracted driving after his son was killed by a distracted driver.

The crash happened around 8 a.m. in September 2016. Mitchel Keifer was heading back to school at Michigan State University when he was struck by a distracted driver. His vehicle crossed the median and went into oncoming traffic, he was broadsided by a tractor-trailer and killed instantly.

Keifer would have been 21 years old this year, and his family is working to honor his memory. He was in his first month at Michigan State University as a new freshman student, and he had been visiting back home for the weekend to go to a Lions game.

"It doesn't get easier when you really see his picture or when I'm here in this ice rink. All the memories come back, so it hurts as much today as it did two and a half years ago," Steve Keifer, Mitchel Keifer's father, said.

Steve Keifer is working to change the law.

"There are 16 states that adopted true hands-free legislation, which say while you are in the car, you cannot hold the phone," Steve Keifer said. "That what we want is hands-free Michigan, and eventually we want hands-free USA. That's our ultimate goal."

The Keifer family was recognized at Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's State of the State address this year for their work spreading the word about the dangers of distracted driving.

Mitchel Keifer's parents and his three siblings are all working to share his story.

Mitchel Keifer played at the USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth for Detroit Catholic Central. There is a tribute to him, an ice rink named in his honor and messages for all who visit.

The Keifer family has started a foundation to bring awareness to distracted driving. They are also pushing for hands-free legislation in Michigan.

For more information visit The Keifer Foundation's website.

Learn more about #HandsFreeMichigan here.

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