State considers expanding hands-free cellphone law

It’s already illegal to hold a cellphone in work zones across the state, but if Rep. John Spiros, R-Marshfield, gets his way, that law will soon apply to all roadways.

The state has had laws against texting and driving on the books since 2010, with an expansion in 2016 related to construction zones. But Spiros is crafting legislation to make it illegal for drivers to hold a cellphone for texting, emailing, or talking while driving on any Wisconsin roadway, according to a Wisconsin State Journal report.

The legislation would only allow drivers to touch their cellphones to activate hands-free use.

Such legislation is not unusual. Minnesota’s new hands-free laws took effect Aug. 1, and Illinois recently expanded its laws to show up on a driver’s driving record as a moving violation.

The reasoning behind the hands-free laws, of course, is safety. Several states that have tightened their laws have reported decreases in inattentive driving violations and, more importantly, fatalities.

Spiros’ bill could be finalized this month, but he gives it a 50-50 chance of passing.