"Kelsey's Law" would ban teen drivers from talking on cell phone

Mar 1, 2012

Young drivers in Michigan already have restrictions while they’re behind the wheel. Now there’s a bill that would allow police to stop teen drivers if they see them talking on a cell phone.

State Sen. Howard Walker says the bill is called “Kelsey’s Law." It's named after a teen who died in 2010 while trying to pass another vehicle.  She was talking on her cell phone at the time.

"Her mother has been a crusader to educate young people and legislators about the concerns of being distracted while you're learning how to drive," Walker says.

Teens are first required to drive with a licensed parent, legal guardian or another licensed driver who’s at least 21. 

They also have to accumulate at least 50 hours behind the wheel – including night-driving before 10 p.m., and can’t have any moving violations or cause any accidents. After that, they can get full driving privileges.

Walker says adding the cell phone ban would help teens focus on the road. He says it would also help parents feel more comfortable about handing over the car keys.

"Not only have they told their young driver, 'Hey, I don't want you talking on a cell phone,' but now they get to say, 'It's against the law.' So they're getting some backup."

Walker says teens who are caught talking on their cell phones while behind the wheel could face fines and a delay in getting their license.