Wisconsin appears likely to ban texting while driving

Wisconsin will attempt to make its roads safer by banning texting behind the wheel

The Wisconsin Assembly voted overwhelmingly to ban text messaging while driving, and the measure will become law pending the governor's signature.

The law would impose a substantial fine on Wisconsin drivers who text behind the wheel. The citation for a first offense is $400, and subsequent offenses could result in a fine of up to $800.

Kenosha Democratic Representative Peter Barca called the measure "an effort to send the message that texting while driving is dangerous and unacceptable on the roads of Wisconsin."

Wisconsin would become the 20th state to make texting while driving illegal for certain motorists. Some states only impose texting bans on younger drivers, who are seen as higher-risk whether they text or not.

Sixteen-year-old drivers have the highest fatality rates of any age group.

But distracted driving is an equal-opportunity problem: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving-related crashes killed 6,000 people in 2008.

An ever-greater number of states, whose lawmakers are concerned with reducing on-road fatalities and lowering drivers' auto insurance costs, are enacting texting bans.

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Posted: January 22, 2010

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