For Immediate Release:
WAJ Applauds Legislators for Introducing Bill to Combat Distracted Driving
WAJ President Benjamin S. Wagner joins bipartisan group led by Reps. Tusler and Sen. Wanggaard.
June 22, 2017 (Madison) The Wisconsin Association for Justice applauds Representatives Ron Tusler
(RAppleton), Shannon Zimmerman (RRiver Falls), and Dana Wachs (DEau Claire); as well as Senator
Van Wanggaard (RRacine) for introducing legislation aimed at combating distracted driving by
smartphone or other electronic media use.
for a bill which would make needed improvements to Wisconsin's distracted driving laws. WAJ
President, Milwaukee Attorney Benjamin S. Wagner, spoke in favor of the bill.
Wagner said, "I applaud this bipartisan group of legislators led by Rep. Ron Tusler and Sen. Van
Wanggaard for offering a clear message that we must do everything we can
to crack down on people using their smartphones when they should have their hands on the wheel and
their eyes on the road."
The legislation does three major things which should make Wisconsin drivers think
twice before texting and driving. First, it updates Wisconsin law to reflect the capability of
modern smart phones by outlawing the use of the phone to, among other things, access the internet
and phonebased applications while driving. Second, it increases the minimum financial penalty for a violation from a mere $20 to $100. Lastly, it makes it clear that a person who violates this law and causes the death of another may face prosecution for negligent use of a motor vehicle under Wis. Stat. § 940.10.
"As an attorney who represents car crash victims, I see the harm that distracted driving causes
every day. Not a day goes by where I am not shocked to see a fellow driver's attention focused on
their smartphone rather than the road ahead," said Benjamin S. Wagner, President of the Wisconsin
Association for Justice, "Too often, this type of distraction leads to tragedy."
Wagner concluded, "We are grateful for the privilege of sharing the stage with this
bipartisan group as they begin building support for this bill. This is just the first step towards
safer roads and highways for everybody in Wisconsin."