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Driving with Cellular Phones

There is no prohibition on cell phone use while driving in Wisconsin. However, all Wisconsin drivers are prohibited from texting. Wisconsin law also prohibits distracted driving — which essentially refers to any moving violation that is committed because the driver was so engaged or occupied that the distraction affected motor vehicle safety.


Drivers are prohibited from texting.  The texting ban doesn't apply to: 

  • those operating authorized emergency vehicles
  • devices whose primary function is to send and receive emergency alert messages or messages relating to the operation of the vehicle, or accessories that are integrated into the electrical system of the vehicle, such as a global position system (GPS)
  • amateur radio operators who hold a valid operator's license issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), when using dedicated amateur two-way radio equipment and observing proper amateur radio operating procedures, and
  • hands-free devices or voice-operated equipment, as long as the driver doesn't use his or her hands other than to activate or deactivate features or functions of the device.

The texting ban prohibits only writing or sending messages, not receiving or reading them. However, drivers who are so distracted by text messages that it interferes with their ability to drive safely may still be subject to penalties under the state's inattentive driving law.

Become familiar with the special features of your cellular phone, such as redial and speed dial.

  • Place your cellular phone within reach. Voicemail is there to pick up when it is inconvenient for you.
  • Tell the person on the other end that you are driving. During heavy traffic and inclement weather, call the person back.
  • It is wise to keep your eyes on the road instead of looking up phone numbers and jotting down notes.
  • Be sensible and make calls when you are not moving, or before proceeding into traffic.
  • It is free on your wireless to dial 9-1-1 to report emergencies.
  • Dial roadside assistance instead of 9-1-1 for non-emergencies.
  • Keep both hands on the steering wheel by using hands-free headsets and car-mounted cradle and microphone sets.
  • Taking part in emotional or stressful conversations may distract you from safe, attentive driving.
  • The cellular phone can be used to serve others in need