FEDERAL & STATE LEGISLATION
SENATE BILL 355
[Text Messaging Restrictions]
Author: Sen. Alan Lasee (R-De Pere)
Co-Sponsors: Sen. Cowles, Sen. Breske, Sen. Darling, Sen. Hansen, Sen. Carpenter, Sen. Schultz, Sen. Risser, Sen. Ellis, Sen. Olsen and Sen. Taylor; Rep. Bies, Rep. A. Ott, Rep. Wasserman, Rep. Albers, Rep. Nelson, Rep. Musser, Rep. Staskunas, Rep. Hahn, Rep. Nerison, Rep. Berceau, Rep. Van Roy and Rep. Nygren
Current law prohibits inattentive driving, which means that a driver of a motor vehicle may not be so engaged or occupied as to interfere with the safe driving of the vehicle. Any person convicted of inattentive driving may be required to forfeit not less than $20 nor more than $400.
This bill prohibits the use of an electronic text messaging device by anyone who is operating a motor vehicle in this state. An “electronic text messaging device” is defined as a cellular telephone, personal digital assistant, portable or mobile computer while being used for purposes of text communications, or other electronic device capable of being used to record text communications or to transmit or receive text communications with one or more other persons.
The definition of electronic text messaging device does not include devices that transmit or receive emergency alert messages or messages relating to the operation of the vehicle or an accessory that is integrated into the electrical system of a vehicle, including non−portable global positioning system devices. The bill provides an exception to this prohibition for persons operating authorized emergency vehicles. The prohibition applies regardless of whether use of the electronic text messaging device interferes with operation of the vehicle.
Persons who violate this prohibition may be required to forfeit not less than $100 nor more than $400 for a first offense, and not less than $200 nor more than $800 for a second or subsequent offense within one year. Persons who, in the course of using an electronic text messaging device while operating a motor vehicle, cause an accident resulting in bodily harm to another person must be fined not less than $300 nor more than $2,000 or be imprisoned for not more than 30 days in the county jail, or both. If persons who, in the course of using an electronic text messaging device while operating a motor vehicle cause an accident resulting in the death of another person or in the death of an unborn child, the person is guilty of a Class G felony, which is punishable by a fine not to exceed $25,000 or imprisonment not to exceed ten years, or both.
Senate: Referred to Committee on Transportation and Tourism on Thursday, December 13, 2007.
ASSEMBLY BILL 464
[GDL Cell Phone Restrictions]
Author: Rep. Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon)
Co-Sponsors: Rep. Albers, Rep. Benedict, Rep. Berceau, Rep. Bies, Rep. Cullen, Rep. Hahn, Rep. Hines, Rep. Jeskewitz, Rep. Molepske, Rep. A. Ott, Rep. Seidel, Rep. Smith, Rep. Townsend, Rep. Travis, Rep. Van Roy, Rep. Vos and Rep. Zepnick; Sen. Olsen, Sen. Darling, Sen. Lassa, Sen. Lehman, Sen. Roessler and Sen. Taylor
Under current law, the Department of Transportation (DOT) may issue an instruction permit to a person who is at least 15 years and 6 months of age, who has passed a knowledge test, who, if under 18 years of age, has enrolled in an approved driver education and training course, and who, except for age or lack of training in the operation of a motor vehicle, is qualified to obtain an operator’s license. The permit remains valid for 12 months unless cancelled by DOT. The permit authorizes the person to operate most motor vehicles (excluding commercial motor vehicles, school buses, and Type 1 motorcycles), subject to certain restrictions, including restrictions related to persons required to accompany the permittee while operating a motor vehicle, persons who may be passengers in a motor vehicle operated by the permittee, and hours during which the permittee may operate a motor vehicle.
Under current law, a person who is at least 16 years of age and who is otherwise qualified may obtain a Type 1 motorcycle instruction permit. The permit is valid for six months but may be renewed. The permit authorizes the person to operate a Type 1 motorcycle subject to certain restrictions related to persons who may accompany the permittee on a motorcycle and hours during which the permittee may operate a motorcycle.
This bill creates an additional restriction that a person operating a motor vehicle under an instruction permit may not operate the motor vehicle, and a person operating a motorcycle under a motorcycle instruction permit may not operate the motorcycle, while using a cellular telephone or other wireless telecommunications device (cellular telephone), except to report an emergency.
Under current law, a probationary license is, with certain exceptions, issued to all applicants who qualify for an original driver’s license and remains in effect for two years from the date of the licensee’s next birthday. During the first nine months following issuance of a probationary license, a probationary licensee who is under 18 years of age is subject, with limited exceptions, to certain restrictions on the operation of “Class D” vehicles (automobiles and most other motor vehicles), including restrictions related to persons who may be passengers in a motor vehicle operated by the licensee and hours during which the licensee may operate a motor vehicle.
This bill creates an additional restriction that a probationary licensee who is under 18 years of age may not, during the first nine months following issuance of the probationary license, operate a “Class D” vehicle while using a cellular telephone, except to report an emergency. The same exceptions that apply to existing restrictions on the licensee also apply to this new restriction.
Under current law, a person holding a probationary license or instruction permit who violates operating restrictions must forfeit $50 for the first offense and not less than $50 nor more than $100 for each subsequent offense. This bill provides the same penalty for cellular telephone operating restriction violations.
Assembly: Adopted Assembly Amendment 1 and passed Assembly Bill 464 by a vote of 90-7 on Tuesday, December 11, 2007.
NOTE: Please see Wisconsin Legislative Council Amendment Memo published February 11, 2008, which is included in your Government Relations Seminar folders.
Updated on 03/30/2009 08:24:16 PM