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Lansing, Michigan

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New Michigan Law Helps End Distracted Driving

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I was happy to see a new law put in place in Michigan to prevent inexperienced, young drivers from hitting the roads while distracted by their cellphones. Kelsey's Law was signed by Governor Snyder on Tuesday and is named after Kelsey Dawn Raffaele, a 17-year-old Michigan teenager who died in 2010 while talking on her cellphone and attempting to navigate around another car on an icy road.

Kelsey's mother, Bonnie, is a fearless advocate of the law and has traveled across the state to talk about her daughter's death and to prevent similar deaths from occuring because of distracted driving. She's also formed a group called "KDR" or "Kids Driving Responsibly", which has the same initials as her daughter's name. Kelsey's law prevents level I and II graduate license holders from holding a cellphone in their hand while behind the wheel. Level I drivers are those who must drive with a parent or guardian in the vehicle and level II drivers are those who are allowed to drive alone, but have limited hours to drive and cannot drive with other young passengers in the car.

Kelsey's law makes exemptions for hands-free calls and urgent calls to report accidents or other emergencies. Currently, texting while driving or attempting to access the Internet while driving are illegal for all drivers in Michigan and carry a $100 fine for the first offense and a $200 for the second. Snyder says that he is happy to see the law passed to protect young drivers, but stopped short of saying that such a ban should be put in place for all drivers.

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  1. Vern Dennis says:
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    I hope the new law works as anticipated – there’s been far too much carnage on the highways already from distracted driving – the texting ban should apply to all drivers

    The key will be in enforcing the law impartially