As multiple states pass legal restrictions on phone use while driving, Wisconsin residents are urging the state government to follow the example of Minnesota, and others.
Across the country, state lawmakers have passed legislation meant to reduce the prevalence of distracted driving offenses: Some have established texting and driving as a primary offense, while others have taken restrictions a step further with laws that establish hands-free only rules, or outlaw behind-the-wheel phone use all together.
Close by in Minnesota, a hands-free law will take effect on August 1st. The new law reforms the 2008 ban on texting and driving, expanding to include all handheld phone use while operating a vehicle. Minnesota residents can use voice-activated technology to make calls or use a navigation app, and can even legally attach their phone to their head with a scarf or hands-free device. But all phone functions that require a driver to use their hands can result in a fine of $50 to $275.
With the Minnesota legislation soon to be underway, Wisconsin residents are hoping a similar law will pass in their state. One family who lost their daughter in a distracted driving accident is working to pass laws in Hudson, River Falls, New Richmond, and other cities that border Minnesota before beginning their efforts toward a statewide campaign. According to a report from the St. Paul Pioneer Press, “states that have instituted hands-free laws have seen a 15% reduction in fatalities involving distracted driving.”
The dangers associated with distracted driving impact Wisconsin’s pedestrians and bicyclists as well. Data from the Governors Highway Safety Association exhibits a steady increase in pedestrian fatalities which could be attributed to “the popularization of the smartphone and the subsequent increase in distracted driving,” (OnMilwaukee).
The dangers of distracted driving become increasingly apparent each day. Hopefully, Wisconsin legislators will listen to residents and pass a hands-free law to protect drivers.
If you were injured in a car accident, contact Samster Konkel & Safran. Schedule a free consultation with our attorneys through our contact formor by calling (414) 404-5818.