Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Alert: The following services will be unavailable on Saturday, January 5, 2013 from 12 a.m. (midnight) to 6 a.m. CST due to system maintenance.

Dangers of distracted driving

Talking on cell phone in traffic
Don't be a distracted driver

Every time you drive, you are legally and morally responsible for safely operating a potentially destructive - and even deadly - force. Any lapse in attention to traffic or road conditions is a grave danger to you, your passengers and everyone else on the road.

In an attempt to save time by multitasking behind the wheel, drivers may choose to eat a meal, search for items in the glove box, use a cell phone, or comb their hair while staring in the rear view mirror. Their attention is focused everywhere except where it should be - on the road.

Research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that in 2008 alone nearly 6,000 people were killed and more than a half million people were injured nationwide in crashes involving a distracted driver. Almost 20 percent of all crashes that same year involved some type of distraction.

Because of the dangers of distracted driving, Wisconsin state law prohibits drivers from being "so engaged or occupied as to interfere with the safe driving of that vehicle."

State law bans texting while driving

Texting with a cell phone while driving recently has become a more prevalent and dangerous form of distracted driving because it diverts a driver's eyes, hands, and mind - for a significant amount of time - from the safe operation of the vehicle.

Wisconsin state law now forbids driving "any motor vehicle while composing or sending an electronic text message or an electronic mail message." Wisconsin's texting ban is a primary enforcement law, which means law enforcement officers may stop motorists suspected of this offense alone.

Questions about the content of this page:
Jill Benkert, jill.benkert@dot.wi.gov
Last modified: January 18, 2013

All external hyperlinks are provided for your information and for the benefit of the general public. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation does not testify to, sponsor or endorse the accuracy of the information provided on externally linked pages. Some pages contain links to other documents and media types (PDF, Word, Flash, Video, etc.) and require free plugins to work. Visit our software information page for assistance.