Michigan passes new law regarding teen drivers and cellular phones.


Michigan passed a new law aimed at curbing teen automobile accidents. Named “Kelsey’s Law,” the new Michigan traffic law is named after Kelsey Dawn Raffaele, a 17-year-old girl who was killed in a car accident while talking on a cell phone.  The evidence was that she was distracted by the use of the phone.  Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder indicated that he was motivated to pass the law because car crashes are the No. 1 killer of teens.


Under the new law, drivers with a Level I and Level II graduated license are prohibited from holding a cell phone in their hand while behind the wheel. Sixteen (16) year old drivers with a Level 1 license must have a parent, guardian or another driver at least 21 years old in the car. A Level 2 license allows for the teenager to drive alone, but limits the number of young passengers in the car and the hours of operation.


About 30 other states already have similar laws prohibiting cell phone use by teen drivers. Using a cell phone while driving, and especially texting, has been shown though scientific studies to be as dangerous as driving intoxicated by alcohol.


If cited for a civil infraction, the teen will be required to pay a fine but 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.  Michigan adopted a statewide ban on texting-while-driving in 2010.