The time for Wisconsin to go "hands free" when it comes to cellphone use - just like border state Minnesota did this past August.  Badger State lawmakers have been trying to gain support to get the bill off the ground.

As someone who drives in both states on a daily basis, it's been easy for me to see the difference.  In the days before Minnesota passed their legislation, I actually grew concerned about the number of people I saw paying more attention to their cellphones than the roadway in front of them.  I used to count the number of cellphone users I would encounter on my way to work.  I also drove extra-defensively to avoid the near-misses they created.

Two very memorable encounters stick in my memory: One, I watched a driver go through a traffic signal - into the intersection - without lifting their eyes from the cellphone that was very obviously in front of them, propped against the steering wheel.  A second encounter happened on Piedmont; I was driving up from the interstate and came upon both lanes of traffic backed-up - with drivers going no more than 5 miles per hour.  At first I thought that there had been an accident that backed the traffic up.  Wrong.  When I finally made it to the head of the congestion, there was a driver in the left lane, head tilted down and texting, going 5 miles per hour, oblivious to the backed up cars behind her.

Since Minnesota passed the hands-free law in August 2019, I am happy to say that I really no longer see people dangerously on their cellphones while driving in Duluth.  But - I still see them - and the dangerous situations they create - in Superior.

It's time.  Common sense says that you need to put the phone down when you're in a vehicle and concentrate on driving that 5,000 pound car at top speeds on the roadway.  The law should say so, too.

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