Tougher driving rules for teens – before Michigan lawmakers

At the center of the issue is the Michigan Graduated License for new drivers. Legislation is before Michigan lawmakers December 5th that can tighten the rules.


Bonnie Raffaelle of Sault Ste. Marie is a driving force behind what’s known as “Kelsey’s Law.” Her 17 year old daughter Kelsey was killed in a car accident in 2010.  Kelsey was a new driver, talking on her phone, when she lost control of her car and crashed.


Kelsey’s family has been pushing for a new state law to prevent the use of cell phones by young drivers.   Senate Bill 756 or “Kelsey’s Law” would prevent drivers with a Level 1 or 2 license from using cell phones in any way while driving: no talking, no texting.  The bill was passed in the Michigan Senate in March.  And, now it’s going before the House Transportation Committee.


State Representative Matt Huuki and 15 other members of that panel will hold a hearing on “Kelsey’s Law” December 5th at noon. The bill has been more than two years in the making.


Bonnie has lobbied Michigan lawmakers to put tougher restrictions on new drivers.  She has taken that message to the Michigan State Police and has spoken to teens at high schools across the state. She partnered with State Farm Insurance and law enforcement agencies to take this message national in September in a one day event, “Celebrate My Drive.”


Bonnie says she doesn’t want to take anything away from young drivers, she wants the laws to reflect the dangers of technology behind the wheel.  She says her message to teens is simple:  pay attention when you are driving…and talk or text when you are not on the road.  She also doesn’t want any other family to lose a teenager to a distracted and inexperienced driving accident.


If Kelsey’s Law is not approved by the House Transportation Committee next month, it will expire at the end of the year, and the process would have to begin all over again.  If you’d like to learn more about distracted driving, Kelsey’s case, and the effort the Raffaelle family has started to change the Michigan driving regulations, visit


If you would like to voice your opinion on this law, you can contact the 16 members, including State Representative Matt Huuki, of the House Transportation Committee through this link:,_Michigan_House_of_Representatives