Bill Would Ban Cell Phones for Teen Drivers in Wisconsin

Teenage drivers would have to put down their cell phones when behind the wheel under a bill introduced in the state Legislature.

If the legislation becomes law, Wisconsin would become the 16th state to limit or ban cell phone use by teen drivers.

Attempts to limit drivers' cell phone use has a long, and unsuccessful, history in Wisconsin.

Legislation to ban all drivers from using cell phones didn't even get a hearing in 1997 and 1999. The teen driving restriction has been introduced every session since 2001 but failed to pass, despite no opposition from cell phone companies.

Sponsoring Representative Jerry Petrowski thinks the bill has a better chance this time. He says a late introduction doomed the bill in 2003. And, it failed in 2005 because of the projected cost of reprinting a manual for those who have provisional driver's licenses.

This time the manuals won't have to be printed immediately.

The bill would apply to 15- to 17-year-old drivers who hold instructional permits or probationary licenses. It also would apply to motorcycle riders under 18.