Wisconsin 25th state to ban texting

Wisconsin’s governor signed into law a ban on texting while driving, making it the 25th state to outlaw the practice.

Jim Doyle joined a growing line of governors who enacted distracted driving laws this legislative season. Right before him was Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, whose texting-ban signing ceremony was broadcast live on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

Wisconsin’s new distracted driving law (from Assembly Bill 496) provides for fines ranging from $20 to $400. The offense is targeted for primary enforcement, which means law office can stop violators for that reason alone.

Enforcement begins Dec. 1.

“For far too long, inattentive driving has been a serious problem in Wisconsin and across the country,” Gov. Doyle said after the April 5 signing. “This bill is an important step to make our roads safer and save lives.”

AAA chief Robert Darbelnet praised the new distracted driving law, while noting that half the states are in the no-texting camp: “Last year, 12 states enacted text messaging bans for all drivers and we anticipate that several more states will act against this dangerous source of driver distraction this year,” he said.

Six states have enacted driving while texting prohibitions this year.

Wisconsin’s distracted driving bill was introduced in October, and actively worked throughout the legislative season by the state’s Senate and Assembly. The Senate signed off on the bill April 13. Final approval came in the Assembly on May 4 and the governor signed it the next day.

Doyle has enacted several key pieces of driver safety legislation on his watch.

Wisconsin has no limits on the use of mobile phones while driving.


  1. John Hassler says:

    Is there any place to report lic# of drivers texting after I arrive home? Why is there not a place to report drivers texting while driving? Sort of a “citizen issuing a warning citation”!

    • John: There is such a problem in New York, run by the Ontario County Sheriff’s office. It’s similar to the smog report line in California, where you report a violator’s license plate number and a warning letter is sent out. I used the Calif. smog report line and based on that experience I’d say the problem is that you have to record the license number somehow. For most of us that means picking up a pen and paper, or taking a picture with — you got it — a handheld cell phone. Thanks for the comment.

  2. Keith Keller says:

    I am a 51 year old physically disabled gentleman from Georgia. I am glad that Georgia will ban all drivers (18 and older) from texting and using cell phone effective July 1, 2010.

  3. gus aliberti says:

    Im 1000+ times on baning texing / talking on the cell phones.
    we all need all of its states, countys, citys, towns, local communitys, to seriously help me, help save lives. !!!!

    I care of your safety, your family, your friends, lets, all help do the rightful thing, the rightful steps, don’t tex, don’t talk while driveing.

    driveing today is a high priority of safety within yourself, family, friends, and all, all, others all around you. so…please, please, all I ask is for your most greatest help of all. !!!! don’t tex, don’t talk while driveing. lets all stay safe. so we can all see each other. !!!!

    my heart and sadness, fully goes out to those that may of lost loved ones. lets put a good stop on this today. to prevent any future injurys, or deaths due to texing and talking on the cellphones while driveing. we are not 100% focusing right on are own safety.

    I need your greatest help. send out its highest, and most important message: put a state laws ban on all, all, both: texing and talking while driveing. this is the rightful and safest thing to do. !!!!!
    so once again, lets all, all, work all togeather as a good friend and family and pass on this new stop of texing, and talking while driveing. I do care of everyones life. help me help save….lives.
    thank you all so very, very, much for your most greatful help and need within this serious major problem all over its county.

    I hope, love reaches your hearts on my important driveing safety.

    be safe, stay safe, all throughout your days. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Post a comment, join the conversation