The Assembly Committee on Transportation amended a bill Tuesday that would impose fines on drivers who use cellphones in construction zones to allow the use of hands-free devices.
Assembly Bill 639 would outlaw the use of cellphones in sections of roads that are marked as construction zones. Drivers who violate the law would be subject to fines of between $20 and $40 for first offenses and between $50 and $100 for second or subsequent offenses.
An amendment adopted Tuesday would exempt from the ban cellphones that are being used hands-free.
State Sen. Jerry Petrowski, a Marathon Republican and the author of the Senate version of the bill, Senate Bill 479, has said the legislation should be added to a series of laws meant to prevent drivers from paying attention to things other than the road. Wisconsin lawmakers have also passed bills outlawing texting while driving and prohibiting holders of probationary licenses or instructional permits from talking on cellphones while they are behind the wheel.
Petrowski has said 74 people were killed in Wisconsin construction work zones between 2006 and 2012.
The bill was passed out of the Senate Committee on Transportation, Public Safety, and Veterans and Military Affairs on Jan. 15. To become law, either bill must be approved by the full Legislature and signed by Gov. Scott Walker.Follow @TDR_WLJDan