Enforcing Wausau's cell phone ban - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Enforcing Wausau's cell phone ban

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WAUSAU (WAOW) - The Wausau Police Department will soon be on the lookout for people driving and talking on their cell phones.

"That would be justification for an officer to conduct a traffic stop," said Lt. Nathan Pekarske. "It's the act of being distracted by the cell phone itself that's illegal."

Drivers in Wausau soon won't be allowed to use a phone behind the wheel, unless it's hands-free. The fine for violating the ban is $40, not including court costs.

But officers say they don't plan to write a ton of tickets, immediately.

"We would be stopping people, giving them warnings, notifying them that they can't be driving with their cell phone in Wausau," said Pekarske.

Police say if people see a driver on the phone, causing a hazard, they can call the Wausau Police Dept.'s non-emergency number.

Mayor Jim Tipple says the city will post signs, similar to ones seen Marshfield, warning drivers of the new ban.

"You can go from Schofield to Weston to Rib Mountain and nobody knows where they start and stop," said Tipple. "It's going to create some awareness and change some habits."

He says he's unsure when the signs will go up.

Leaders in several surrounding communities say they're also considering a ban. Wausau police say they hope they do.

"It'd be much easier for the community to understand what the rules are when they're in this general geographic area," said Pekarske.

But for now, the ban just applies to Wausau and soon any drivers here will need to put their cell phones away.

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