Michigan Gov. Snyder signs Kelsey's Law affecting Michigan's inexperienced drivers with cellphones

New Michigan law makes driving while using cellphone civil infraction for some teenagers

LANSING, Mich. -

Tuesday Gov. Rick Snyder signed Kelsey's Law to help protect Michigan's young, inexperienced drivers and other motorists.

The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Howard Walker, bans cellphone use for anyone driving on a level 1 or level 2 graduated driver license in Michigan.

The new law is named in honor of Kelsey Raffaele, 17, of Sault Ste. Marie, who died tragically in a cellphone-related automobile crash in 2010. 

"This law means a lot to me, both as governor and as a parent of a young person who is learning to drive," Snyder said. "I appreciate the efforts of Kelsey's mother, Bonnie, and family who have worked tirelessly to get the message out about the dangers of distracted driving. We should be doing everything we can to make sure beginning drivers are focused on learning how to drive. I believe this law will help them gain that experience while reinforcing their responsibilities behind the wheel."

The new law allows for enforcement by police, though in most cases police will enforce the ban when other violations are noticed first.

Any violation of this law will result in a civil infraction.

No points will be assigned to the driver's record.

Teen drivers will not be punished for using a vehicle's integrated hands-free phone system or for using cell phones to report an emergency.

The governor's office said in a statement, cell phones and other distractions increase a young driver's inexperience and lead to more traffic crashes, which are the No. 1 killer of teens.

Michigan adopted a statewide ban on texting-while-driving in 2010.

Kelsey's Law will take effect in late March.

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