Update: Texting while driving convictions in Wisconsin

Published 11/07 2011 04:47PM

Updated 07/13 2012 03:56PM

WISCONSIN (WFRV) - On December 1, 2010 Wisconsin banned texting while driving.

The law made it illegal for drivers to write a text or e-mail while their vehicle is in motion.

Captain Nick Scorcio with the Wisconsin State Patrol explains the tell-tale signs of a distracted driver:  "A vehicle that might be driven erratically. Maybe partially on the shoulder, partially on another lane".


Proving texting is the reason for the distracted driving can be a challenge.


Capt. David Konrath with the Brown County Sheriff's Department explains " the difficulty with this law is that you can be dialing a phone using a your cellular phone, surfing the web. That makes it difficult for an officer whose driving on the road to look into a vehicle and determine that what they're actually doing is texting".


Since December first of last year the State Patrol reports 162 convictions for texting while driving.  Green bay police gave out two citations. Brown County deputies issued six.


"It's not an easy law to enforce says Captain Scorcio. "It has to be something that the officer personally observes".


During that same time period law enforcement gave out many more tickets for inattentive driving which is much easier to prove.  The state reports 6777 convictions however, texting is not always to blame.


"You could also be sited for inattentive driving if you're so engaged in a phone conversation, or combing your hair or reading a map that caused you to be unsafe and get involved in a crash" says Captain Scorcio.


Local law enforcement have used the texting ban as a new tool when investigating accidents.


According to Captain Konrath "we can actually go back and subpoena the records of the cell phone to determine if at that particular time the person was texting and use that in our charges".

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