Wisconsin’s texting ban effective today

Reminder to all Wisconsin drivers:  as of today, texting while driving is illegal on the roads.

On December 1, Assembly Bill 496, which was signed into legislation by Gov. Jim Doyle on May 5th, becomes effective.  The new law prohibits a person from driving while composing or sending a text message.  Drivers caught texting while driving are facing a fine between $100 and$400 for a first offense, and between $200 and $800 for a second violation within a year.  The law also prohibits any other driving distraction than texting.  Any person convicted of inattentive driving faces a fine from $20 to $400. 

For Capt. Tim Carnahan of the Wisconsin State Patrol, driving distractions such as texting are simply dangerous and irresponsible.

“It takes a fraction of a second, but still a fraction of a second to recognize the device so how quick is something when you are traveling at 65 miles per hour,” he said. “I think if you could see some of the damage, both to vehicles and human bodies that many of us have seen as a result of this, I think it would be clear that this is a long overdue law and i think it will have a big positive impact on Wisconsin traffic safety.”

While state troopers usually give drivers 30 days before enforcing a new law, it will not be the case with this texting while driving ban.

“The law becomes effective on that date and it is entirely possible that someone who is violating that law and is witnessed by our law enforcement would be stopped for that violation,” said Carnahan.

Source: WSAW, November 22, 2010

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