Distracted driving is a growing safety concern throughout the country, and Wisconsin is no exception. DOT reports that from 2017 through preliminary data from 2020, there were 194 fatalities and 28,399 injuries due to distracted driving. In order to keep pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists safe while on Wisconsin roads, we need to take steps to ensure drivers’ attention isn’t split between their vehicle and other distractors.
As bicycles and motor vehicles continue to navigate sharing the road with one another, a huge worry for cyclists is injury or even death while biking alongside distracted drivers. Distracted driving is a huge contributor to crashes here in Wisconsin, accounting for 194 fatalities and 28,399 injuries from 2017 to 2020. As you might imagine, in a crash between a distracted driver and an unprotected bicycle, the damages to the cyclist can be devastating.
It’s no secret that the biggest culprit of distracted driving is cell phones; as our phones provide more features and functionality, the tendency to use them behind the wheel grows. While Wisconsin has in years past taken steps to decrease distracted driving, like banning texting while driving, there is still more to be done to protect both our cyclists and motorists from unsafe driving practices.
In 2016, Wisconsin banned all cell phone use in construction zones in order to protect construction workers from distracted driving injuries and fatalities. Assembly Bill 338/Senate Bill 348 takes this a step further by banning the use of hand-held cell phones outright while driving – a law that 25 other states already have on the books. We are supportive of this legislation that helps make our roads safer for cyclists and motorists alike.
Ask: We ask that members of the Legislature support AB 338/SB348, and that the Governor signs it into law.