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Michigan Passes Bill Banning Cellphone Use By New, Teen Drivers

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LANSING (WWJ/AP) - Michigan lawmakers have passed a bill that would ban cellphone use by new drivers.

The Michigan Legislature passed the bill, known as “Kelsey’s Law,” 74-33 during a final legislative session that spanned two days and ended early Friday morning.

The law prohibits drivers with a level 1 or 2 probationary license from placing a call, answering a call, or listening to or engaging in “verbal communication through the cellular telephone.” It does not apply, however, to drivers using a voice-operated system that’s integrated into the vehicle. Violators face a $100 fine and a civil penalty.

Kelsey’s Law is supported by public safety and medical groups, which say the ban could save the lives of inexperienced drivers.

The bill is named after 17-year-old Kelsey Raffaele, of Sault Ste. Marie, who died in a car crash while talking on her cell phone.

Bonnie Raffaele, Kelsey’s mother, said in a statement she is “deeply grateful” to lawmakers “who put partisan bickering aside to pass this important law.”

The bill, which was approved by the state Senate in a 28-10 vote in March, awaits Gov. Rick Snyder’s signature.

Other restrictions that drivers with a level 1 or 2 graduated license currently have to follow include no driving between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., and having no more that one passenger who is less than 21-years-old at any given time – both which carry exceptions for employment and authorized school or religious activity, or accompaniment by a parent or legal guardian.

TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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