Law firm partners with foundation to double Kelsey’s Law scholarship

Michigan Auto Law announces that The Kiefer Foundation will be partnering with the law firm on the 2024 Kelsey’s Law Distracted Driving Awareness Scholarship. As a result, both the scholarship amount and the number of winners will be doubled – increasing the total value of the scholarships awarded from $5,000 to $10,000 total and recognizing eight rather than four winners.

Nine years ago, Michigan Auto Law created the Kelsey’s Law Distracted Driving Awareness Scholarship in honor of Kelsey Raffaele, who tragically lost her life in a cell phone-related automobile crash in 2010 at the age of 17.

The Kiefer Foundation was started in 2016 in honor of Mitchel Kiefer, a freshman at Michigan State University, who sadly lost his life during his commute to MSU after a young driver that was distracted using social media, hit his car.

Michigan Auto Law and The Kiefer Foundation hope to inspire change and raise awareness, by encouraging Michigan high school juniors and seniors to submit a compelling message that convinces young drivers to reduce distractions while driving and persuades all drivers, especially teen drivers, to stop texting while driving.  Applications for the 2024 scholarship are being accepted now at and the deadline has been extended through April 7.  

Through the support of Bonnie Raffaele, Kelsey’s mother, the Kelsey’s Law was passed in Michigan in 2013, prohibiting cell phone use by teen drivers with a Level 1 or Level 2 graduated license. Kelsey’s Law prohibits teen drivers from initiating a call, answering a call, or listening to or engaging in verbal communications through a cell phone while they’re behind the wheel. Teen drivers who violate Kelsey’s Law may be ticketed by a law enforcement officer.  Bonnie Raffaele has been a steadfast supporter and invaluable partner of Michigan Auto Law’s through the Kelsey’s Law Distracted Driving Awareness Scholarship, providing guidance and helping select each year’s winners.

“As lawyers, there is nothing so devastating for families we’ve helped than the death of a son or daughter, and nothing so tragic as a completely preventable death due to distracted driving so we started this scholarship and partnered with Bonnie Raffaele to help try to save lives”, said Steven Gursten, Attorney and Owner of Michigan Auto Law.  “We are honored that The Kiefer Foundation has joined, and together we can help our missions to end distracted driving”.

“The Kiefer Foundation is proud to support and contribute to the Kelsey’s Law Distracted Driving Awareness Scholarship and continue to evoke change within the community to bring an end distracted driving,” said Steve Kiefer, founder and chairman. “This scholarship is an excellent initiative to raise awareness to just how critical it is to practice safe driving. We look forward to providing students opportunities to further their education through their commitment to safer driving.”

Michigan Auto Law gives annual scholarships to students who show exemplary leaderships skills and has been awarding the Kelsey’s Law Scholarship since 2016 to teen drivers who use this platform to raise awareness across Michigan as to the dangers of distracted driving and texting while driving.

Driving distractions are more than just using a cell phone and/or texting, but also eating and drinking, reading, using navigations systems, and even changing radio stations.  

According to Michigan Traffic Crash Facts, more than 20% of the drivers involved in distracted driving-related crashes in Michigan in 2022 were between the ages of 15 and 20 years of age. Furthermore, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 8% of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes in the U.S. in 2021 were teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19. These statistics emphasize the urgent need to address distracted driving among young drivers.

To be considered for the 2024 Kelsey’s Law Distracted Driving Awareness Scholarship, Michigan high school juniors and seniors are invited to submit compelling videos, graphics, or tweets (now X posts,) that resonate with their peers and influence young drivers to reduce distractions while driving. Entries will be judged based on their ability to persuade others to stop texting while driving, grab the attention of friends and family, deliver a clear and understandable message, and showcase personal creativity and ingenuity. The $10,000 scholarship combined total offers various award amounts per category, including two $2,000 scholarships for the overall best submission, two $1,500 scholarships for the best video submission, two $1,000 scholarships for the best graphic submission, and two $500 scholarships for the best tweet (now X post) submission. Each student is limited to one type of submission. With the support of The Kiefer Foundation, there will now be two winners selected per category, doubling the scholarship amount awarded to now $10,000 total.

The Kelsey’s Law Distracted Driving Awareness Scholarship is open to 11th and 12th grade students attending any public or private Michigan high school. The scholarship funds will be applied towards tuition at any university, college, or technical school in the United States. Applicants must be Michigan residents with a valid driver’s license. Finalists will be required to provide proof of enrollment, and if under 18 years old by April 15, 2024, a parental consent form must be signed.

Over the last several years, Michigan Auto Law has awarded the Kelsey’s Law Distracted Driving Awareness Scholarship to students from such schools as; Bryon Center High School (Byron Center), Forest Hills Northern High School (Grand Rapids), North Farmington High School (Farmington Hills), Wayland Union High School (Wayland), Caledonia High School (Caledonia), Troy Athens High School (Troy) and Eisenhower High School (Macomb). These students have gone on to continue their education at colleges and universities such as Adrian, Schoolcraft, Columbia College in Chicago, Michigan State University, and Lansing Community College, just to name a few.

The deadline to apply has also been extended to April 7, 2024. Winners will be announced in April 2024, coinciding with National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

For additional information and to apply, visit