Texting. Writing or reading messages on handheld cell phones or other electronic communication devices while driving is prohibited for all drivers in Wisconsin (WI Stat. Sec. 346.89(3) and 346.95(11)).
Texting is a primary offense, and law enforcement officers may pull over and cite violators only for texting.
Violators can be fined up to $400 and are charged four points against their driver's licenses.
At present, drivers have not been specifically prohibited from talking on or listening on cell phones and other communications devices while driving.
Cell phone use by probationary drivers. Effective November 1, 2012, all drivers under the age of 18 and all drivers of any age holding various kinds of probationary licenses are prohibited from using cell phones or other wireless communication devices while operating a vehicle, including hands-free devices (WI Stat. Sec. 343.07(1g)).
"Inattentive driving." State law allows officers to cite motorists for driving a motor vehicle "so engaged or occupied" that it would interfere with the safe driving of the vehicle. That situation could include cell phone use, Internet use, and other distractions to a driver's concentration. Those cited will be fined and receive four points against their driver's licenses (WI Stat. Sec. 346.89(1)).
Exemptions. The laws do not apply to hands-free cell phones or electronic devices such as GPS systems that are integrated into the electrical system of the vehicle. Also exempt is the use of two-way radio equipment if a driver is licensed to use it.
Local ordinances. Several municipalities in Wisconsin have banned drivers talking or listening to cell phones while driving.