Michigan Osteopathic Association

Michigan Osteopathic Association

Gov. Snyder signs Kelsey's Law to protect inexperienced drivers

Gov. Rick Snyder today signed Kelsey's Law to help protect Michigan's young, inexperienced drivers and other motorists. Kelsey's Law was supported by the Michigan Osteopathic Association.

Senate Bill 756, sponsored by state Sen. Howard Walker, bans cellphone use for anyone driving on a level 1 or level 2 graduated driver license in Michigan.

The new law is named in honor of Kelsey Raffaele, 17, of Sault Ste. Marie, who died tragically in a cellphone-related automobile crash in 2010.

"This law means a lot to me, both as governor and as a parent of a young person who is learning to drive," Snyder said. "I appreciate the efforts of Kelsey's mother, Bonnie, and family who have worked tirelessly to get the messages out about the dangers of distracted driving. We should be doing everything we can to make sure beginning drivers are focused on learning how to drive. I believe this law will help them gain that experience while reinforcing their responsibilities behind the wheel."

The new law allows for primary enforcement by police, though in most cases it will be enforced after the detection of another moving violation. A violation of the law will result in a civil infraction to be determined by the local jurisdiction. No points will be assigned to the driver's record and drivers will not be punished for using a vehicle's integrated hands-free phone system or for using cell phones to report an emergency.

Cell phones and other distractions exacerbate a young driver's inexperience and lead to more traffic crashes, which are the No. 1 killer of teens. 

Michigan adopted a statewide ban on texting-while-driving in 2010.

SB 756 is now Public Act 592 of 2012 and will take effect in late March.

For more detailed information on legislation, visit www.michiganlegislature.org.