Michigan law bans cell phone use for new drivers

Dec 14, 2012

Michigan lawmakers have passed a bill that will ban cell phone use by new drivers. 

The bill was named after 17-year-old Kelsey Raffaele, who was killed in a car crash three years ago. She was talking on her phone while driving and lost control of her car.

A year and a half ago, Kelsey's mother, Bonnie Raffaele, started a campaign to ban cell phone use for drivers with probationary licenses.

"If we can teach them at a young age to not do it, and it's the social norm not to do it when you're driving, they'll carry that on to adulthood," Raffaele says.

"She would be so excited and so overwhelmed, and so glad that it's actually going to save lives. I keep saying I wish everybody knew how big a heart that she had, you know? She was a good girl."

Raffaele worried the bill would fail because it was opposed by House Speaker Jase Bolger, who said not using a cell phone while driving was simply common sense, and should not be legislated.

It passed by a vote of 74 to 33.

Under the new law, anyone caught using a cell phone while driving with a level 1 or level 2 probationary license would face a civil infraction.