Wisconsin legislative panel has approved a bill intended to cut cell phone use
by young drivers.
by Rep. Jerry Petrowski, R-Marathon, the measure
would prohibit drivers under age 18 from talking on cell phones while behind
the wheel when they have an instruction permit or are within the first nine
months of holding a probationary license. It would exempt emergency phone
Joint Finance Committee voted 10-5 Nov. 30 to advance a measure to impose a $50
fine for teens chatting on the phone while driving. Repeat offenders would face
up to a $100 fine.
Petrowski told The Associated
Press the cell phone provision would be added to other restrictions
under Wisconsin’s graduated driver’s license program. Existing rules prohibit
probationary license holders under age 18 from driving unsupervised between
midnight and 5 a.m. and transporting more than one passenger in the vehicle
under age 18 unless they are relatives.
bill – AB120 – now heads to the full Assembly for further consideration.
The effort comes on the heels of a National Transportation Safety Board
report released this summer that recommended novice drivers be prohibited from
using cell phones while on the road.
The safety board says that young drivers account for only 7 percent of
the driving population but are involved in 15 percent of fatal accidents.
Distracted drivers take 1.5 seconds longer to respond to hazards, the agency
“Learning how to drive and getting comfortable in traffic requires all
the concentration a novice driver can muster,” NTSB Chairwoman Ellen Engleman said in a recent statement. “Adding a distracting
element like a cell phone is placing too many demands on a young driver’s
Currently, nine states forbid young drivers to use phones while behind
the wheel. Only Connecticut, New York and New Jersey have bans on all drivers
from using hand-held phones.
Gov. Jim Doyle’s office said he likely would sign the bill if gets to