New Wis. law: New drivers can't use cellphones
MADISON—New drivers who use a cell phone while driving will face fines under a state law that goes in effect Thursday.
The law amends a state statute on inattentive driving by prohibiting people with a temporary or probationary driver’s license from using cellphones while driving.
According to the state Department of Transportation, the law (http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2011/related/acts/164) applies to drivers with temporary or probationary licenses, including:
--Drivers with instruction permits or probationary licenses, and drivers who’ve had licenses reinstated after being revoked or suspended.
--New state residents who are under age 21 or have less than three years of driving experience
--Drivers licensed in other countries.
Violators of the law face fine totals up to $187.90 for a first offense, according to the Rock County Sheriff’s Office.
State and local officials say the law is intended to eliminate distractions that cellphones can cause, particularly for inexperienced drivers.
A 2010 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that 11 percent of all people killed in accidents that involve distracted driving are age 20 or younger.
32 states ban cell phone use by new drivers, the Governor’s Highway Safety Association reports.
Under the law, new drivers are still allowed to use cellphones while driving to report an emergency to authorities.