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New talking & driving law begins Nov. 1st


MADISON, WI (WSAU) -  A new state law that prohibiting cell phone use by inexperienced drivers starts November 1st. Wisconsin State Patrol Bureau of Transportation Safety Director Maj. Sandra Huxtable says this new law is designed to help cut traffic crashes by teens and other inexperienced drivers.

She says the new law covers all non-emergency calls, and it also prohibits using hands-free divices so that drivers concentrate on driving instead of talking.  Huxtable says the new law is a primary enforcement law, so officers can pull young drivers over if they see them talking on the phone. When that happens, She says it will be three points on your license and a fine between $40 and $100 plus court costs for a first offense.  Fines get higher on subsequent offenses.

The new law affects all drivers with an instruction permit or probationary license.

Huxtable says the law is a special part of the inattentive driving law, so violators will not also have a separate inattentive driving ticket. She says drivers with a regular license talking on the phone can get an inattentive driving ticket if they show signs of dangerous driving.

The new law is in addition to the ban on texting while driving, which already applies to all drivers.

Although the law will affect 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

Wisconsin law already prohibits texting while driving for all motorists of all ages.

Here is where to go for online information:·        WisDOT Teen Driver Portal:  www.dot.wisconsin.gov/drivers/teens/index.htm·        Zero In Wisconsin—distracted driving: www.zeroinwisconsin.gov/texting.asp

·        Wisconsin Legislative documents:https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2011/related/acts/164

·        National Highway Traffic Safety Administration—Teen  drivers:  www.nhtsa.gov/Teen-Drivers

·        National Highway Traffic Safety Administration—Distracted driving:  www.distraction.gov/