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New Michigan Law Prohibits Teens From Using a Cell Phone While Driving

Wyandotte legislators — Rep. Paul Clemente and Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood — supported the bill.

A new Michigan law prohibits teen drivers from using a cell phone while driving a car.

According to MichiganVotes.org, Senate Bill 756 applies to any driver with a temporary drivers permit or a level 1 or 2 graduated license—meaning any driver under the age of 17. The law, building on current texting and driving laws, makes it a civil infraction for a teen to use a hands-on cell phone.

Dubbed "Kelsey's Law," the legislation is named for a 17-year-old Sault Ste. Marie girl who died in a car crash in 2010 while she was using her cell phone.

Snyder signed the bill into law Tuesday, according to the Detroit News.

The law passed 74-33 in the House of Representatives and 28-10 in the Senate. Both of Wyandotte's representatives — Rep. Paul Clemente (D-Lincoln Park) and Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood (D-Taylor) — voted in favor of the legislation.

Because violation of the law is a civil infraction, it is up to local municipalities to determine the fine.

The legislation adds to state driving laws that prohibit texting while driving.

Public Act 60 of 2010 prohibits the operation of a motor vehicle while reading, typing, or sending a text message on an electronic wireless device. 

Since that law went into effect on July 1, 2010, Wyandotte police officers have written only two tickets for violating it, according to the Traffic Improvement Association of Michigan.

In Michigan last year, drivers were reported to be distracted in 3,986 crashes, and using cell phones in 821 crashes.

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