If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
A recently enacted state law prohibits drivers with an instruction permit or probationary license—which includes many teenagers—from “using a cellular or other wireless telephone except to report an emergency.” A driver violating this restriction on cell phone use is subject to a forfeiture of $20 to $40 plus court and other costs for a first offense and $50 to $100 plus court and other costs for a subsequent offense within a year.
“Cell phone use can distract a driver’s attention from traffic and road conditions. Distracted driving is a problem even for experienced drivers. But it often is even more hazardous for teen drivers and others who are not experienced,” says Wisconsin State Patrol Captain Jeff Frenette of the Northwest Region. “Traffic crashes kill more teenagers in Wisconsin and the rest of the nation than any other cause of death. And distracted driving is a factor in many of these crashes.”
Although the law affects many teen drivers, the cell phone restrictions also apply to other drivers with a Wisconsin probationary license, such as:
• Drivers licensed in other countries.
• Persons with suspended or revoked instruction permits or probationary licenses.
• New state residents who have fewer than three years of driving experience.
• New state residents under the age of 21.
• New state residents who surrender a license that is expired for more than six months.
In addition, Wisconsin law prohibits texting while driving for all motorists of all ages.
• To prevent distractions from cell phone use and texting, the State Patrol advises all drivers to:
• Turn off your phone or switch to a silent mode.
• Use voice mail to tell callers that you’re driving and will return the call as soon as possible.
• If you absolutely need to use your cell phone to call or text, pull over to a safe area.
• Ask a passenger to make a call or text for you.
Cell phone use and texting are just two of many types of distractions that increase a driver’s risk of causing a crash or failing to avoid one, according to Captain Frenette.
“Every time you drive, you are legally and morally responsible for safely operating a potentially destructive, and even deadly, force,” Captain Frenette says. “That’s why driving requires your undivided attention. Any lapse in attention to traffic or road conditions is a grave danger to you, your passengers and everyone else on the road. No attempt to multi-task in your vehicle, no phone call, and no text message is more important than a human life.”