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Snyder OKs ban on phone use by teen drivers

cell phone driving.jpg
Will Merydith

New drivers in Michigan will soon face restrictions on cell phone use while they’re behind the wheel.

Governor Rick Snyder signed “Kelsey’s Law” Tuesday.

It bans cell phone use by teen drivers who still have their probationary licenses unless they use a hands-free device or are reporting an emergency.

The law is named for 17-year-old Kelsey Raffaele. The 17-year-old Sault Sainte Marie girl died in a car crash two years ago while talking on her cell phone.

Her mother, Bonnie Raffaele, lobbied for the law and attended the signing ceremony.

“She made a horrible mistake and I know that she would want people to take awareness of this and not use their cell phones, especially the kids. So, I had to do it for Kel,” Raffaele said.

The new law takes effect in late March.

Governor Snyder says he wants to see how it works before deciding whether the ban should be extended to all drivers.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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