Distracted driving is defined as drivers who are occupied or engaged with an activity other than driving while operating a motor vehicle. This includes multi-tasking while driving. Texting and using a cell phone while driving are considered the two biggest distractions. Some of the other common distractions include:

  • Eating
  • Searching for items
  • Combing hair
  • Looking anywhere else besides the road

Texting while driving is illegal for drivers of all ages and license statuses in Wisconsin. However, there is no ban on cell phone usage while operating a motor vehicle for drivers of any age or license status. In addition, there are a few exceptions to the texting law.

Law

  • Texting and driving is illegal

Exceptions

  • Using hands free equipment
  • Devices that can send and receive emergency alerts
  • Devices that relay information about the operation of the vehicle
  • Accessories integrated into the vehicle, such as a GPS system
  • Operating an emergency vehicle

The texting law applies to a driver sending or writing messages, but not to reading or receiving them. Yet, if drivers are distracted by reading or receiving text messages, they may receive penalties under Wisconsin’s inattentive driving law.

This law also forbids operating a motor vehicle that has a device for receiving television broadcasts if the device is located anywhere the driver can see it while driving. The device can be mounted temporarily or permanently in the vehicle.

A law enforcement officer can pull a driver over if they are seen texting while driving as this is considered a primary law in Wisconsin.

Fines

  • First offense ranges from $20 to $400 and up to four points on the license
  • Second offense ranges from $200 to $800

Texting while driving is illegal in the state of Wisconsin, as is watching television while driving. There is no ban on cell phone use for drivers of any age, yet drivers are urged to use caution because it can be a distraction while operating a motor vehicle. It is a good idea to invest in a hands free device so as to cut down on distractions if phone calls do need to be made while driving.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Cell Phone and Texting: Distracted Driving Laws in Wisconsin and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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