Wisconsin Texting Ban Starts Wednesday

(AP/WBBM) – Texting while driving is illegal in Illinois. Now it will be banned in Wisconsin, too, when a new law takes effect on Wednesday.

The Governors Highway Safety Administration says 30 states, the District of Columbia and Guam have enacted legislation to ban text messaging by drivers.

The new Wisconsin law fines first-time violators $20 to $400, along with having four points assessed on their driving records. Second-time violators face fines of $200 to $800.

The law does not cover actually reading text messages or even browsing the Internet on a phone.

Barbara Harsha, executive director of The Governors Highway Safety Administration says texting while driving is a problem “pretty much across the country.”

“And it’s not just teenagers,” she adds. “It’s everybody. One of the biggest texters while driving are suburban moms.”

The National Highway Safety Administration is undertaking a project to figure out how best to enforce bans against handheld cell phones. Harsha said some of those techniques can be used for the texting bans. For example, officers are using sports utility vehicles and other elevated vehicles to get a higher vantage point for spotting texting drivers.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. WBBM contributed to this report.)

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