QUESTION: Gov. Scott Walker signed into law on March 30 a bill that makes it illegal to use hand-held cellphones while driving through construction zones. Do you think this new ban will be enforceable and, if so, do you think it will make construction zones safer?
Ryan Murphy, general counsel of Edgerton Contractors, Oak Creek — “As a roadway and utility contractor, we welcome the continued enforcement of safety laws and requirements for the protection of our employees, other workers and drivers. However, enforcement of this new law will most likely be managed by law-enforcement jurisdictions that are patrolling the construction zones. On the safety question, there are studies that indicate that these types of bans on texting and hand-held use have nominal impact on reduction of accidents. However, this new ban will raise driver awareness in construction zones and hopefully persuade drivers to put down the phones, not just in construction zones.”
Terry McGowan, president and business manager of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 139 — “I appreciate our legislators’ effort to address this problem for safety reasons, but our law-enforcement officers don’t even have enough resources to enforce the reduced speed limit in construction zones to keep our highway workers safe.”
Dan Bukiewicz, president of the Milwaukee Building and Construction Trades Council — “Yes, I think it could possibly be enforced by means of technology, with temporary cameras set up in construction zones, recording licenses numbers and photos of violators. Without a doubt it would improve the safety of these workers. People need to respect these workers and slow down and pay attention to their driving. One accident is one too many and all can be prevented if we choose to do the right thing in these construction zones.”
Dave Branson, executive director of the Building and Construction Trades Council of South Central Wisconsin — “I think the law is enforceable, and I think it will make construction zones safer. People should be slowing down and paying attention when they are driving in construction zones. Banning cellphones in construction zones is long overdue. If drivers stay off of their phones in construction zones they will pay attention and things will be safer for the workers and other drivers.”
Chris Stamborski, assistant director of municipal services at R.A. Smith National, Brookfield — “Yes, in time, I do believe this increases safety in construction zones. It will, at a minimum, increase awareness that there is an issue. I see it getting enforced as more of an add-on violation when getting pulled over for something else.”