The issue of driving while using a cell phone gets another hearing at the capitol.
Eric Peterson from State Senator Lena Taylor’s office testified on the Milwaukee Democrat’s behalf regarding her proposal.
“We’re pleased to join with Representative Smith of Eau Claire to offer this legislation which prohibits a driver from using their cell phone in a hand-held mode — namely holding on to it — for verbal communication, sending or receiving text messages or email or other device functions that communicate with other persons.”
Peterson says drivers would be able to use a hands-free device, including an earpiece or something hooked up to their stereo system. His testimony refers to an article on this subject, which discusses the effect of cell use while driving.
“If you’re driving while cell-phoning, then your performance is going to be as poor as if you were legally drunk.”
Opponents say there’s already a law on the books banning “inattentive driving,” and that should be enforced. Senator Jim Sullivan, a Milwaukee-area Democrat, thinks this bill goes too far. He wants a balance between risk and liberty. And, he says citizens can’t be expected to change their behavior when he believes 99% of lawmakers would be “hypocrites” on the measure.
Six states already ban cell phone use while driving, 17 states ban texting. Peterson says this bill does not prohibit the use of GPS systems, and they want to amend it so CB radios and such would be exempt.
NOTE: Testimony was heard on SB-306 at a public hearing of the Committee on Transportation, Tourism, Forestry, and Natural Resources at the state capitol on Thursday.