Distracted driving measure advances in Wisconsin

| Monday, December 19, 2005

A Wisconsin Assembly panel has approved a bill that would clearly forbid drivers from watching television while behind the wheel.

The Assembly Highway Safety Committee voted unanimously Dec. 9 to advance the bill – AB567 – to the full Assembly for further consideration.

Current state law already prohibits drivers from watching any device that receives a television broadcast if it’s located in front of the back of the driver’s seat or is visible to the driver – regardless of whether the device interferes with safe driving.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Gary Bies, R-Sister Bay, would amend the law to prohibit drivers from watching any device capable of displaying a live or recorded television, cable or satellite broadcasts, DVDs or video games that is located within the driver’s view.

The restriction wouldn’t apply to dashboard readouts or other displays of information about a vehicle’s operation or conduct.

Drivers found in violation of the rule could be fined up to $400.

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