Wisconsin is implementing a new law to curb distracted driving that will take effect October 1st, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. It bans handheld cell phone usage in all construction or work zones. Hands free devices are exempt as well as emergency calls.
However, more research is showing that even hands free devices are a distraction to drivers. It is the conversation itself that is occupying your mind and distracting you. See this infographic on handsfree is not risk-free. Dialing 911 is an exception to the rule.
The fine for talking on a handheld device in a work zone is $20 to $40. The fine increases to $50 to $100 for subsequent offenses within a year.
The number one cause of unintentional death in the United States is automobile crashes. This law is coming as part of an effort to reduce distracted driving and promote safe driving throughout the state. The law can be simplified to this phrase: “orange cones, put down the phones.”
According to the CDC, more than eight people are killed and 1,161 injured every day in the United States by a distracted driver. They list three main types of distraction: visual (taking eyes off the road), manual (taking hands off the wheel), and cognitive (taking mind off the road).
Wisconsin has a zero tolerance rule for texting while driving. The law in Wisconsin forbids creating or composing a text message or email while driving.
The Republican Rep. John Spiros, a lead sponsor on the construction zone bill, believes Wisconsin will eventually join the other 14 states that prohibit cell phone use while driving.
The Republican-controlled legislature ignored a Democrat-sponsored bill that would create a wider ban on talking on the cell phone while driving, letting it die as the session wrapped up.
Mobile device use is a factor in one in four crashes in the United States. It may help to turn your device off or to silent when driving. You can also have passengers lend a hand and make phone calls for you. Speak up if someone is texting or talking on the phone while driving. It can wait.