It’s becoming a common scenario: a teen driver is talking on the phone while driving, isn’t paying attention to the road, and ends up crashing the car, resulting in injuries, or worse: death.
In an effort to prevent such tragedies, Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan has signed a bill colloquially known as “Kelsey’s Law,” into force, which makes it illegal for teens to use cellphones while driving.
The new legislation applies to all Michigan drivers with level one licenses (those requiring an adult driver’s presence in the car) as well as drivers with level two licenses (solo driving allowed, but with curfews and limitations on young passengers) but those drivers with full privileges are not affected.
Present in Lansing, MI, for the January 8th signing of the bill were the parents of Kelsey Raffaele, the law’s namesake, Kelsey was a seventeen-year-old who was killed in a car crash while using her phone. Her mother was a major proponent of the new legislation.
Governor Snyder, however, also has a daughter named Kelsey who is a young driver, and has told the press that because of this the law is “very personal” to him.
Michigan is one of a number of states with legislation banning the use of cellphones while operating a motor vehicle. Cell phone use is considered one of the most hazardous forms of distracted driving, and penalties in various states range from graduated fines to points on one’s license and insurance record.
Car accidents are the nation’s leading killer of teen drivers.