Gov. signs cellphone ban for novice drivers

Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday signed a law prohibiting novice teen drivers from using a hand-held cellphone while behind the wheel, a nod to a grieving mother's push to enact the restrictions after her daughter was killed in a car crash.
AP Wire
Jan 8, 2013

 

The law "strikes our hearts in terms of making a difference in people's lives," the Republican governor said. He was joined at the bill signing by the family of Kelsey Raffaele, a 17-year-old from the Upper Peninsula town of Sault Ste. Marie who in the winter of 2010 veered into an oncoming vehicle on a slippery road while talking on her phone.

The law takes effect in late March and applies to holders of Level 1 licenses, who must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or another driver at least 21 years old. It also covers Level 2 licenses, which allow driving alone with limits on hours and carrying of young passengers.

A violation is a civil infraction and will not result in points being added to a driver's record.

Drivers with full privileges are exempted. Level 1 and 2 drivers can legally talk on a hands-free phone system integrated into their vehicles and can use a hand-held phone or to report an emergency.

"I know that Kelsey is up in heaven just clapping and screaming for joy over this because of the lives that can be saved through (her) tragic death," said Bonnie Raffaele, Kelsey's mom, who hugged the Republican governor after he signed the bill sponsored by Sen. Howard Walker, R-Traverse City.

Snyder said the law is "very personal" to him because he also has a daughter named Kelsey who recently got her driver's license.

Thirty-two states have similar laws.

In 2010, Michigan banned all drivers from texting and driving. Asked why not prohibit adults from using a cellphone while behind the wheel, Snyder told reporters he would wait to see more data, arguing that texting and driving is a definite distraction.

Senate Bill 756 is Public Act 592 of 2012.

Read about the latest Grand Haven High School campaign to educate young drivers about distractions in Wednesday's Tribune.

Comments

LessThanAmused

LOL! Nice choice of pic there...looks like a typical 16 year old that just got her license!

MeanSmith

Hahahahaha, agreed!! Gotta post and update status of the facebook telling all of her friends and stalkers 'Im driving'

MR. WILLIAMS

Perhaps the Governor doesn't get out much and see how many Adult drivers have a cell phone glued to one ear taking away the use of one hand with the other remaining to steer the car. These responsible drivers are very attentive especially at 4 Way Stop Signs where they roll through ignoring the other 3 vehicles or they do stop and are so involved in their conversation they sit there letting the rest of the drivers guessing of what this distracted driver will do next. I pay attention when driving and sometimes count how many people are on their cell phones while driving past me from the opposite direction. The average is usually about 50% of the drivers are on their cell phones, most of which are adults. I let my guard down in assuming that the Legislators and the Governor could see the "Big Picture," but there you have it, "I assumed." Any time a person driving a vehicle on the city streets and highways where 1/2 of their attention is "distracted" by using their cell phone and giving up that one arm and hand to operate the cell leaving the other to drive the entire vehicle with a 50% attention deficit is an accident waiting to happen. I mean this is a 3,000 pound, half guided missile sometimes traveling 70 mph down the roadway. For those of you who think this is “Safe, then you must think it would be OK for your Surgeon to be on their cell phone while they are performing open-heart surgery on you. There are already an abundance of distractions that steal our attention while driving. Do we really need to add another distraction in our lives that increases the chances of more unnecessary fatalities on our roadways?

 

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