Wisconsin passed a law preventing drivers from texting or emailing while driving. The law takes effect on December 1, 2010. Although the current law prevents being so engaged or occupied as to interfere with the safe driving of the vehcile (inattentive driving), the new texting law specifically prohibits texting and emailing behind the wheel. The law states, "No person may drive (as defined in statute) any motor vehicle while composing or sending an electronic text message or electronic mail message. The law creates exceptions for operators of emergency vehicles and for GPS units. Fines are $20 to $400.
This law was created after a legislator commented that texting while driving is more dangerous than drunk driving. If a bicyclist is injured by a driver who happens to swerve for no apparent reason, the driver's phone records could possibly become an issue in the case. While it has not been determined whether this law is a safety statute that imposes negligence per se, evidence that a driver was texting while driving would definately help prove negligence of the driver. Some might even consider punitive damages for a driver who injures a person while texting on his or her phone.
If injured by a driver who you think may have been texting behind the wheel, contact Griessmeyer Law for a free evaluation of your case. Bike injury lawyer Clayton Griessmeyer obtained a $98,000 jury verdict for an injured bicyclist hit by a texting driver in Door County, Wisconsin.