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.
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.


  1. Common sense legislation like this can get support from parties. I hope at some point both parties get the message. When one party's leadership has to bribe and threaten their own members to pass a bill, that is a sign of a bad bill. When both parties line up to support a bill then it is usually a good bill. There is a lesson for both parties here. Learn it or lose in November.

  2. That's great... but how will it be enforced?

  3. This is most excellent, but I agree that enforcing it is going to be a bit tricky. I think they should just pass a "no cell phone" bill altogether for when people are behind the wheel. Then, all a cop has to do is see the cell phone, whether texting or talking, and pull those idiots over and ticket them. Now if we can only do something about those that read newspapers and magazines while driving!

    As a side note, Pete and Dustin, your liberalism is showing. There is a historic political upset in Massachusetts and THIS article is your big headline for the day? It makes you look like sore losers.

  4. Glad they didn't succumb to the strong pro-texting lobby. LOL

  5. Although the Mass. election does affect us in WI, it is not a local story. Not siding with anyone but judging from the past stories posted here it looks like this is just a local rag.


  6. I forgot. Who voted against this slam dunk?

  7. Good to hear, or read.

  8. Now that the state has attempted to tame teenage drivers with a scary fine, what has been accomplished to create jobs for the teenagers and parents to afford the cell phones to text.

    Will the fines pay for the law enforcement personel to be on an all points bulletin to located and arrest these lawbreakers?