Could stronger cellphone laws in Wisconsin save lives?

: People who use cellphones while driving can cause deadly car accidents, which may be prevented by enforcing strict cellphone laws.

Many Americans could not function on a day to day basis without having quick access to their cellphones. In fact, the majority of adults in Wisconsin and across the country are smartphone owners, according to studies done by the Pew Research Center. Although these small devices help people conduct business, keep in touch with friends and family and make life simpler in many ways, they can be deadly when used behind the wheel of a vehicle. Cellphones act as a significant driving distraction and have been involved in countless car accidents, some of which involve serious injuries and even death. As a way to combat the number of people injured and killed in distracted driving car accidents, many states have enacted laws banning drivers from using cellphones. Some believe stronger cellphone laws in Wisconsin may encourage motorists to put down their cellphones and concentrate more on driving.

Cellphone laws

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, Wisconsin is one of 46 states in the nation that prohibit drivers from texting while behind the wheel. The state also bans new drivers from talking on a hand-held or hands free cellular device. These are considered primary offenses, meaning that officers can pull over and cite drivers who are engaging in these activities. There are only 14 states in the nation that have made it illegal to talk on a hand-held cellphone while driving. Many organizations are encouraging more states to enact similar laws because of the proven dangers associated with talking on hand-held cellphones while driving. Studies released by the National Safety Council show that even hands free devices can be distracting and could lead to catastrophic accidents as well.

Types of distraction

There are three main types of distraction, including cognitive, manual and visual distractions. Any activity that encourages drivers to use their hands for anything other than driving is considered a manual distraction. Similarly, tasks that require drivers to remove their eyes from the road is a visual distraction. Cognitive distractions, on the other hand, take the driver's focus off of driving and places it on something else, like engaging in a conversation. Although talking and texting on a cellphone utilizes all three types of distractions, there are a number of other distractive activities that drivers should avoid while behind the wheel, according to Distraction.gov. They consist of the following:

  • Reaching for something on the floor or in the glovebox
  • Changing the radio station or adjusting the entertainment system
  • Programming a navigational device
  • Talking with passengers in the vehicle
  • Eating or drinking

The dangers associated with these distractions can be exaggerated when driving in bad weather, heavy traffic conditions or at night.

Finding legal assistance

Being injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver can cause long-term physical injuries, property damage, emotional trauma and financial distress. An attorney in Wisconsin may be able to assist you by looking at the specific details of your case and helping you explore your legal options.