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Michigan ban on teen drivers using cell phones starts tomorrow

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A new state law takes effect tomorrow that bans teenage drivers from talking on a cell phone behind the wheel.

“Kelsey’s law” is named for an Upper Peninsula teen who died in a car accident while using her mobile phone in 2010.

Kelsey’s mother, Bonnie Raffaele, lobbied hard for the law.

“Kelsey’s law will undoubtedly save lives,” says Bonnie Raffaele, “We may not know the exact number that it will save, but we know that it will save lives.”

The law will apply to teens, between 14 years, 9 months and 17 years old, holding Level 1 and Level 2 drivers’ licenses.   A violation of the law could result in a fine of up to $100. 

Bonnie Raffaele is optimistic that Kelsey’s law will eventually be expanded to all Michigan drivers.

“Someday, down the road, it’s going to be banned for everybody. I think that’s for the best, absolutely,” says Raffaele.

Michigan law currently prohibits all drivers from reading or sending text messages.


Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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