As of Thursday, November 1, 2012, a new Wisconsin state law goes into effect prohibiting young drivers with instructional permits or probationary licenses from using any cell phone, including hands-free units, for any purpose while driving accept in emergency situations. First time violators face a $20-$40 fine while subsequent offenses within a year rise to $50-$100.
Other states have implemented similar laws and some have gone so far as to include any age driver. The rationale is that, drivers who are using cell phones for texting or calling, are not paying attention. Statistics show that texting while driving is as bad as being intoxicated and just as dangerous. Other than alcohol related crashes, texting while driving is one of the primary causes of accidents especially younger drivers. The question is whether the law should be expanded to include older drivers. I am sure each and every one of us has found ourselves in a situation where we are either texting or trying to dial a number on our cell phone and we are suddenly on the shoulder of the road or worse across the centerline. I know it has happened to me. Luckily, it has not caused an accident but it is only because of just that, “luck”. Even though it isn’t a law yet, perhaps we all should reconsider our cell phone usage while driving. Why not send a message to the younger driver that we also can drive safely. After all, we do have options.
I have a four year old car that, when I bought it, had blue tooth capability to allow me to make hands-free calls. It took me almost four years to finally figure out how to use it. It wasn’t because it was complicated. It was because I didn’t take the time. Now, I can make hands-free calls. Since using the device I have yet to cross the centerline or hit the shoulder while talking to someone. Of course, I cannot text but then again do I need to text while driving?
Next, and this goes more to the sign of our times, do we really need to be talking or texting to someone at all times under all circumstances? It was just a few years ago that we didn’t have these capabilities and I wonder how we “survived”. If I recall correctly, I was just as happy driving my car, not talking on my cell phone as I am now.
Maybe we shouldn’t wait for the law to change but make safe decisions regardless of our age. Think twice before reaching for that cell phone and dialing a number or texting. Consider options like utilizing your car’s hands-free device and blue tooth technology. Most newer cars come with those features at no extra charge. If you have to text someone see if your cell phone has a voice recognition feature which allows you to text by talking as opposed to typing. This option allows you to keep your eye on the road and be as safe as possible.
Safe driving prevents accidents. However, not everyone is a safe driver and accidents do and will continue to happen. If you have been injured in an accident due to the actions of another, please call me for a free, no cost, no obligation consultation. I have been representing injured victims from accidents of all kinds for more than 27 years. These cases are handled on a contingency fee basis so there is no cost to you unless and only if there is a recovery.
In the Madison area call us at (608) 824-8540, in the Baraboo area call us at (608) 356-3961 or statewide at (866) 455-2993. Please feel free to check out our website at https://khtlawyers.com.
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