A law banning teen drivers from using the phone while driving goes into effect Thursday, March 28.
Kelsey’s Law is named in memory of Kelsey Raffaele, who died in a cell-phone related crash in Sault St. Marie in the winter 2010.
The law bans teens with level one and level two licenses from talking on the phone behind the wheel. Level one license holders must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or another driver at least 21 years old. Level two licenses allow driving alone with limits on hours and the transport of young passengers.
Violating the law will result in a civil infraction to be determined at the local level. No points will be assigned to the driver’s record. Drivers will still be allowed to use a vehicle’s integrated hands-free phone system or report an emergency with a cell phone.
The Oakland Press turned to its Facebook users for reactions to this law.
Wes Borucki said the law is only as effective as the entity enforcing it.
“A law makes the politicians and emotion-driven voters feel good, but it doesn’t mean a thing if enforcement doesn’t happen.”
Deborra L Swain said that just like other laws on the books that are often broken, some teens could simply ignore this one.
“Kind of like that “Don’t drive drunk” law,” she said. “And most teens are addicted to those cell phones. They might make it a law, but these ‘cell phone addicts’ will not obey that law, just like drunks don’t follow the law.”
Several readers backed this up with examples of Troy’s ban of cell phone use while driving, saying that though the law is in place, they still see drivers talking and texting away.
Several readers said the law banning cell phone use while driving among teens should not be limited to just that demographic.
“Shouldn’t this be for adults too?” Andrew Tingley said. “Maybe the youth of the day do it more, but I’ve seen and almost been hit by plenty of adults too.”
Reader Melissa Duncan said anyone who can’t perform basic multitasking shouldn’t be operating a phone while driving, period.
“If you cannot chew gum and walk at the same time, then you certainly should not be chatting on a cell phone while driving,” she said. “And this does not just go for teenagers!
“I see way too many people on the roads either chatting it up or texting while driving like morons,” she added. “I guess it will take an accident for it to get through some people’s heads!”
Paul Vedout said this law is probably directed at the wrong demographic in general.
“A lot of people aren’t going to want to hear this, but teenagers growing up in this generation are better at multi tasking things like talking on the phone and driving than their parents,” he said. “Nine out of ten times when I see someone swerving all over the road or holding up traffic, they are over 40.”
Victor Hillebrand disagreed with this line of reasoning.
“Their ability to multi-task is why teens as a group have higher accident rates and cost more to insure,” he said.
Some users prefer a more overarching approach to the issue, such as a law banning cell phone use among all age groups while driving.
“This law unjustly singles out a group based on their age,” said Owen Veighey. “Talking on the phone while driving should be illegal for everyone.”