The Consequences of Texting While Driving
Charged with Inattentive Driving for Texting while Driving?
Phones with texting capability are ubiquitous, and having one hand on the steering wheel and one on the phone (or worse, knees on the steering wheel and both hands on the phone) seems almost natural now for many people. But in Wisconsin, it’s illegal to text and drive. State law permits cell phone use while driving only in certain circumstances, and state legislators constantly look for ways to make the existing legal consequences tougher.
Currently, drivers in Wisconsin who have a regular license (not a probationary one) can talk on their phone while driving; those who have probationary licenses or instruction permits can’t use their phones at all except when there is an emergency. No driver, regardless of license status, can text while driving. This act falls under the inattentive driving law and results in a ticket, license demerits, and a fine. There are additional penalties if the driver has a probationary license or instruction permit.
Legislators in Wisconsin strengthened the texting-while-driving laws in early 2017, but then in late 2017 they looked at making the laws even tougher. Not only would the fine be increased, but the legislators also looked at ways to prevent people from using their phones while driving to get any type of data, except directions.
Don’t try to get around the law by using email instead of your text app; email is treated like texting for the purposes of the law.
But legal effects aren’t the only consequences. The distraction that texting provides — eyes off the road, absorption in the text conversation and not on paying attention to traffic — can result in accidents that damage property and kill people. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that in 2016 alone, 3,450 people were killed in accidents caused by distracted driving, which includes texting.
This is not a minor issue. If you’ve been pulled over for texting while driving, talk to the lawyers at Eisenberg Law Offices about your options. Most importantly, avoid texting or emailing while driving under all circumstances.