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New Wisconsin drivers: Put down your phones or pay!

Now that the leaves have fallen and all of the trick-or-treating candy has been handed out, November has finally arrived. For many, that means plans for holiday shopping already. For all new drivers in Wisconsin, that means a new, stricter distracted driving law.

As we mentioned in a recent traffic safety post, a ban on cellphone use for new drivers in the state begins today, Nov. 1. For those who don't know about the legal change, forget or ignore it, they could have to shell out some of their hard-earned money.

Those in Wisconsin who are driving with probationary driver's licenses or instructional permits are not allowed to use their cellphones at all while driving. Prior to today, all drivers were banned from texting while behind the wheel. That rule remains for all drivers, regardless of their types of license. The inexperienced drivers, however, are required to be even more careful.

Fines for violating the new distracted driving law range from $20 to $100, depending on the severity of the offense and whether it is repeated. Since most people who are affected by the change are teens, parents of those young drivers should take notice of the new law. They could likely be who ends up paying for their kids' mistakes.

The goal of the distracted driving law is quite clear: to prevent distracted driving and the accidents caused by bad habits. Teens die and cause fatal accidents as a result of irresponsible cellphone use while driving. It will take time to see that this new legislation will hopefully reduce the number of crashes in Wisconsin.

Source: Green Bay Press Gazette, "New cellphone, texting bans use for new drivers," Oct. 30, 2012

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