Texting while driving can be a dangerous practice, increasing the possibility of the driver getting into an auto accident, which is why Wisconsin state law has banned the use of texting while driving. According to Wisconsin Statute 346.89, subsection 3, drivers are forbidden from composing or sending texts or emails in electronic form while driving. This would easily apply to smart phones that many Wisconsin residents own and use in their daily lives. However, state law does provide exceptions to texting prohibitions.

First, state law allows for drivers of authorized emergency vehicles to text while driving. This is important because emergency drivers require information on where they need to go while on the road, and texting can quickly provide that information. Ambulances may require critical information on a location where someone is seriously sick or injured. Fire engines may also need up to date information on a raging fire in a neighborhood.

Texting exceptions also apply to devices that receive and sending out emergency alerts, as well as alerts that relate to how the vehicle operates. Additionally, a texting device may be integrated with the vehicle’s electrical system. Some of these devices may provide crucial navigation information, such as global positioning information. A GPS may be used for many purposes, including to gather geographic information or to pinpoint the location of an emergency.

Some Wisconsin drivers may wonder what the law says about hands free devices. These transmitters allow you to speak into a microphone and hear through a receiver on the ear without having to use your hands to operate the device. Wisconsin law does allow for the use of this device while on the road and even specifies that the driver may use hands to turn on or turn off the device or a feature of the device, so there should be no legal risk to using this kind of device while driving.

This article is intended to inform readers about Wisconsin’s texting laws and is not to be taken as legal advice.