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The Law Blogger is a law-related blog that informs and discusses current matters of legal interest to readers of The Oakland Press and to consumers of legal services in the community. We hope readers will  find it entertaining but also informative. The Law Blogger does not, however, impart legal advice, as only attorneys are licensed to provide legal counsel.
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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Kelsey's Law Bans Cell Phone Use for Teen Drivers

Kelsey Raffaele killed at 17

As of today, Michigan roads have become a little bit safer.  On January 8th, 2013 Governor Rick Snyder signed into law Public Act 592 of 2012, also known as Kelsey’s Law.  The new law, which takes effect today, is named in honor of Kelsey Raffaele, 17, of Sault Ste. Marie, who died tragically in a cellphone-related automobile crash in 2010.

The law bans 16 and 17 year old drivers with a level 1 or a level 2 driver’s license under Michigan’s graduated licensing system from using a handheld phone while driving. 

A level 1 driver has the most restrictions, while a level 2 driver only has a few restrictions –such as the number of passengers allowed and limits on nighttime driving.  A teen who is at least 17 and has at least six months of driving experience as a level 2 driver may qualify for a level 3 license- the typical, unrestricted MI driver's license.

Violation of the law is a primary offense, meaning police can pull over a young driver for no other reason than being on a cell phone.  However, both the governor’s office and law enforcement spokespersons signaled that, in most cases, Kelsey’s Law will be enforced only after detection of another moving violation; this will effectively making enforcement of the law secondary.

A violation of the law will result in a civil infraction with a fine to be determined by the local jurisdiction, and could cause the level 1 or 2 driver’s license period to be extended.  No points will be assigned to the driver's record and drivers will not be punished for using a vehicle's integrated hands-free phone system or for using cell phones to report an emergency.
Officers say that Kelsey's Law is not about punishing teenagers driving on a probationary license, but all about saving lives.  We here at the Law Blogger could not agree more.

Nationally, car crashes are the leading cause of death for young drivers.  In 2011, 154 fatal crashes in Michigan were caused by a driver under 21. So far this year, there have been more than 300,000 crashes due to cellphones in the US, and not all of these crashes are attributable to teen-drivers.

While an all-out cell phone ban for all drivers would be overreaching, we do believe teen-drivers often learn behaviors from their parents, who may be multitasking [talking, texting and e-mailing] while driving.  We note that it is illegal in Michigan for any driver to text while driving and believe it’s important for parents to set a good example.

Michigan roads are a bit safer today thanks to Kelsey’s Law.  Yet, one has to wonder how much safer Michigan roads could be if experienced drivers took heed of the new law, even though it does not apply to them.

As the bumper sticker says, “Get off the phone and drive!”

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Anonymous albertlewia said...

Yes you are right. Every people who are driving their car, must have proper knowledge of rules of driving. I am very glad to read whole post and also share this blog with my friends.

April 4, 2013 at 2:21 AM 
Blogger teresa bowen said...

Thank you for sharing this informative blog! Drivers should be aware in terms of rules in driving to prevent accidents.

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April 24, 2013 at 5:35 AM 
Blogger D Lew said...

This is great news! cellphone use while driving is very dangerous! I have stressed this time and time again to my child, who is a new teen driver. To ensure that he drives safely, I placed a GPS Car Tracker in his vehicle. The first week I didn't let tell him because I wanted to make sure he was practicing safe driving...unfortunately he was texting. After I told him, he freaked out and no longer texted.

April 29, 2013 at 4:42 PM 
Anonymous Driving School Melbourne said...

This is good news to everyone to prevent accidents.

May 26, 2013 at 5:25 AM 

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