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      Teens asked to put down their cell phones while driving or pay a fine if caught

      After a 17-year-old Sault Ste. Marie teen died in a car crash three years ago while talking to a friend on her cell phone, a new law was passed, and Michigan State Troopers in Gladstone are making sure teens are putting away their phones before driving.

      "We chose to work in the area school zones Delta and Menominee County and educate the young drivers of distracted driving," said Trooper Dale Hongisto.

      For the entire 2013-2014 school year, troopers from the Gladstone Post are cracking down on teen drivers with Level 1 or Level 2 licenses under the Graduated Driver Licensing Program (GDLP). Teens under the Level 1 or 2 GDLP are prohibited from using cell phones while driving.

      "Just like anything else, it's going to be based on all the extenuating circumstances. It's a $100 fine. There are no points involved and it does not affect their Graduated Level 1 and 2 drivers licenses," Trooper Hongisto added.

      Michigan Traffic Facts found in 2011, 52 people were killed and 452 were seriously injured in crashes involving drivers ages 17 and younger, and that is why Kelsey's Law asks teen drivers to put their cell phones in park. The Michigan Legislature approved Kelsey's Law at the end of the 2012 legislative session. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found mile for mile, teenagers are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers, and for drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes, 21 percent of the distracted drivers were distracted by the use of cell phones.