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Michigan cell phone ban for teen drivers: Passed

January 9, 2013 by Steven M. Gursten

Kelsey’s law says no cell phone use while driving

Kelsey's lawKelsey’s Law (SB 756) passed in Michigan, making it illegal for teen drivers to use cell phones.

The law prohibits cell phone use by teen drivers with a Level 2 graduated license.  This is when 16-year-olds can drive a motor vehicle without an adult in the state of Michigan.  A teen driver who violates this law by using a cell phone would receive a civil infraction, but no fine has yet been set yet.

About 30 other states already have similar laws prohibiting cell phone use by teen drivers. It’s an idea I support, since the science is very clear that cell phone use while driving, and especially texting, can be as dangerous as driving intoxicated.  The idea has been proven to reduce the number of preventable car crashes, and it’s about time Kelsey’s law is adopted here in Michigan.

My only complaint is that the measure is limited to younger drivers.  I would have it apply to everyone.   The FMCSA has adopted a similar measure for commercial truck drivers, using the same logic.

Sen. Howard Walker (Traverse City) introduced SB 756. It was born from a campaign by a constituent in his district. Bonnie Raffaele’s 17-year-old daughter Kelsey was talking on a cell phone when she crashed into an on-coming SUV. Kelsey died in the tragic car accident, and her mother has been urging teens throughout Michigan to stop using cell phones while driving.

Remember, car accidents are one of the top killers of teens in the U.S. Government data shows that every year, more than 4,000 teens lose their lives in car accidents that are caused mostly by distracted driving.

It’s important to remember that this passed to help save lives, and to protect teen drivers. This younger group of drivers is statistically more likely to cause a car accident.  They are less experienced behind the wheel, which can be a dangerous combination when paired with what can be considered poor driving judgment. Let’s do what we can to help them stay safe on the roads.

Related information:

Five ways to prevent teen car accidents

13 dangerous distractions that cause teen car accidents

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