State Representatives Robert Turner and Cory Mason, both Racine Democrats, voted today in favor of a statewide ban on text messaging while driving. Turner and Mason are both co-sponsors of the bill, which will impose a penalty for a first offense of a fine between $100 and $400. The legislation passed the Assembly on a bipartisan 89-6 vote.
“When we’re behind the wheel, our eyes should be on the road – not on our cell phone,” said Rep. Turner. “Trying to read or type a text message is a dangerous and potentially fatal distraction for drivers.”
In 2008, almost 6,000 people died and 500,000 were injured in crashes involving distracted or inattentive drivers. In addition, driving simulation studies have shown that people are eight times more likely to crash their vehicle while they are text messaging.
“It’s just not safe for people to text while they’re driving,” said Rep. Mason. “This legislation sends a very clear message that texting behind the wheel in unacceptable – and will not be tolerated.”
Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have now passed legislation to ban text messaging, including neighboring states like Illinois and Minnesota. Congress is also considering legislation that would withhold a portion of federal highway money from states that have not banned texting while driving.
The passage of the ban on text messaging while driving is only the latest action Assembly Democrats have taken to make Wisconsin roads safer. Earlier this year they approved measures that will allow police officers to ticket drivers who do not buckle up. And, in December, the Legislature passed a comprehensive drunk driving reform package which enhances penalties for operating a vehicle while intoxicated and aims to prevent repeat offenses through the use of new technology and treatment options.
January 19, 2010
Our lawmakers unite in opposing texting while driving
The Wisconsin Assembly voted Tuesday in favor of a statewide ban on text messaging while driving. The measure passed 89-6. Here's a statement issued by Democrats Bob Turner and Cory Mason of Racine -- who (absentmindedly?) neglect to mention that Robin Vos, R-Caledonia, also voted in favor of the bill, AB496.