Legislators take steps against distracted driving

Published: Jun. 22, 2017 at 8:08 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Driving and using your phone could carry a stiffer penalty under a bill released by State Sen. Van Wanggaard. Things like texting, emailing and checking your Facebook would be limited under the new legislation.

The bill is authored by Wanggaard (R-Racine), Rep. Ron Tusler (R-Harrison), and Rep. Shannon Zimmerman (R-River Falls). They say they want to update texting and driving laws to address new technologies.

The bill would increase the minimum penalty from $20 to $100, and clarifies that death caused by data distracted driving constitutes as homicide by negligent use of vehicle.

"No legislation can stop people from doing certain things," Attorney Heath Straka says," We hope this will just deter people from doing it."

Straka worked with legislators on drafting up the legislation. As a personal injury attorney and father of three, he says the laws need to be more precise and up to date.

"Data-distracted driving goes far beyond just mere texting, and it can be as dangerous as drunk driving," said Wanggaard. "You see it on the roads all the time, people texting, tweeting, using Facebook or reading email. It's dangerous and has got to stop."

The legislators hope a bill will become law by the end of the year.

Copyright 2017: WMTV