Officers say new teen texting law difficult to enforce - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Officers say new teen texting law difficult to enforce

After a new law takes effect on July first, new drivers under the age of 18 won't be able to use a cell phone behind the wheel. Police officers say it's a good idea, but enforcing texting and driving rules is difficult.

15-year-old Bradley Bisgrove can't wait to get behind the wheel, but he'll have to do it without his cell phone.

"I don't know anybody in my grade that doesn't have a cell phone," he said.

A new bill taking effect in a few weeks bans new teenage drivers from texting or calling while driving until they've had their license for at least nine months.

Bisgrove said after a while, following the rule could be tough. "It'll be pretty difficult especially once I get used to driving."

Police said it will also be difficult to enforce. Wisconsin already has a law banning texting and driving and officers told Newsline 9 it's been difficult to crack down on.

"Obviously when they see a squad they're not going to be looking at their phone because they know it's illegal." Lt. Ted Knoeck with the Marathon County Sheriff's Department said.

But he said the law is a step in the right direction, adding that officers are finding and citing inattentive drivers. "We have cited a fair amount of violations for texting or dialing while driving or when they're calling while they're involves in crashes," he said.

Law or no law, some groups are trying to reduce the dangers of distracted driving. Jordan Newmier teaches new drivers at Crabb Man's Driver Education.

"At first it seems like it does hit home a little bit but then the more you drive the more you're out there you get confident and think you can multitask and a lot of kids just can't," he said.

But if the lesson doesn't stick, a punishment just might. Teens caught breaking the law will get slapped with a fine. Officers said they hope teens will decide to stay safe on their own.

"Anybody that's texted while they're driving knows that they're not paying attention," Lt. Knoeck said.


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