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Wisconsin Legislature and DOT say “Orange Cones – Put down the phones!”

Orange Cones - Put Down the Phones, WI DOT

Have you noticed the latest messages blinking at you from construction zone signs? The Wisconsin DOT is warning Wisconsin drivers about a new law banning all handheld cell phone use in construction zones starting October 1st this year.

The Wisconsin DOT reports “24,089 inattentive driving crashes, resulting in 10,640 injuries and 103 fatalities” in the year 2015. That’s a significant increase from the 2014 reported 22,194 accidents from distracted driving. The 2015 Wisconsin Act 308 was enacted in March this year in hopes to prioritize safety and reduce distracted driving.

There are few exceptions to the ban: hands-free usage, Bluetooth, and emergency situations (calling 9-1-1). Aside from those exceptions, no one is allowed to use their cell phones in construction zones for phone calls, texting, or even navigation. Offenders of the new law can be fined up to $40 for the first offense and up to $100 for subsequent offenses.

The Wisconsin DOT makes their messages clear and memorable with catchy phrases like, “Drive Now. Text Later.”, “Work Safety Zones: It’s in your hands”, and the latest “Orange cones – Put down the phones!” Here are their suggestions from the WI DOT website to staying attentive and safe behind the wheel:

  • Turn your phone off or switch to silent mode whenever you get behind the wheel. It can wait.
  • If you are making a long drive, consider recording a voice mail message saying how long you’ll be unavailable.
  • If you must use a phone while driving, stop in a safe area such as a wayside or gas station.
  • Ask passengers to lend a hand by making phone calls for you.
  • Passengers – speak up and ask distracted drivers to stay alert.
  • Parents – Talk to your kids about the dangers of distracted driving.

Construction zones may be lit up with orange cones and reflectors, but they also come with shifting lanes and people working nearby. Your text or brief scroll through social media might take only a moment, but too many accidents happen after one fateful moment of distraction or other errors.

If you were injured in an accident from the actions of a distracted driver, the attorneys at Sperling Law Offices in Milwaukee can get you the compensation you deserve. Call 414-273-7777 to schedule a free consultation, or visit MilwaukeeLawFirm.com for more information.