Inattentive Driving in Wisconsin

Legislation was passed in 2009 to address inattentive driving in Wisconsin. According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) however, even with inattentive driving laws in place, accidents, injuries, and deaths related to inattentive driving have continued to rise. DOT statistics show an 8.2% increase in crashes involving distracted drivers between 2014 and 2015. According to a news article, even though alcohol-related crashes in Wisconsin are on a downward trend for the last 30 years, there were still over 11,300 injuries in Wisconsin from distracted driving in 2016, a 6 percent increase over 2015.

In 2017, Wisconsin lawmakers updated inattentive driving laws primarily due to the advancement of cell phone technology. Wisconsin lawmakers expanded the inattentive driving laws beyond just texting to include Facebook posting, tweeting, and snapchatting. It also increased the minimum penalty for data-distracted driving from $20 to $100.

DOT publishes statistics about inattentive driving in Wisconsin on an annual basis. These statistics are available in the Wisconsin Digital Archives. Currently there are statistics for 2012-2016. With the updates made to the inattentive driving laws, the 2017 statistics, due to be release later in 2018, should be interesting to analyze to see what the impact the new inattentive driving laws have had. As soon as the 2017 statistics are available, they will be added to the Wisconsin Digital Archives.

Visit the DOT website to learn more about the dangers of inattentive driving.

Post written by: Abby Swanton, Resources for Libraries and Lifelong Learning

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