EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A new law that prohibits teen drivers from using a hand-held cellphone while behind the wheel goes into effect Thursday.
Under "Kelsey's Law," if teenagers is caught driving while talking on a cellphone, they face a $100 fine and the possibility of having their license revoked or suspended.
Unlike the law that prohibits texting while driving, teens can get a ticket for using their phone even if they are stopped at traffic signal or stop sign. Teens may still use their phone with a hands-free device, like a Bluetooth.
The law 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.
The law is named in honor of 17-year-old Kelsey Raffaele from the Upper Peninsula town of Sault St. Marie. She was killed in a car accident in winter 2010 while using her cellphone.
Kelsey's mother, Bonnie Raffaele, attended the Michigan Traffic Safety Summit Wednesday in Lansing as the public information campaign --"Kelsey's Law: Put your phone in park" kicked off. Bonnie expressed joy at being able to save lives.
"Kelsey would be doing this if it was her sister or somebody else. She would be fighting this, so it's a great feeling to know we can save lives by this law," said Raffaele.
In 2011, there were more than 800 crashes in Michigan blamed on drivers using cellphones. A quarter of those involved drivers between the ages of 16 and 20.
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