Teens and new drivers will no longer be able to talk on their phones while driving later this week.
Car accidents are the number one cause of death for teens. According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, 6000 teenagers die in car accidents across the country each year.
With hopes of bringing the number down, a new state law goes into effect on Thursday.
Drivers with probationary licenses and instructional permits cannot talk on their phones while they’re behind the wheel. If they’re caught, they’ll face a $20 to $40 fine the first time. The subsequent tickets run from $50 to $100.
Sgt. D. Marvin LeSeueur is with the Wisconsin State Patrol, “We’re hoping that’ll have more teens pay attention to their surroundings, they’ll be more safe behind the wheel, being new drivers.”
Although the new law is aimed at teenage and newer drivers, LaSeuer says that distracted driving is a problem for all drivers.
Chief Deputy Brian Puent is with the Trempealeau County Sheriff’s Department. He says his department hasn’t received much guidance on how to enforce the law. If a driver appears to be a teenager and they’re talking on the phone, they can be pulled over, “It’s no different than an underage drinking investigation. Where we see an individual in a tavern who appears to be younger in age and we identify them, they present the proper ID and they’re determined to be of age, we thank them for their time and we go on our way.”
Puent says he has a teenage daughter so to him, the new law couldn’t come at a better time.