Committee discusses banning cell phone use behind the wheel

The City of Green Bay’s protection and welfare committee debated, but did not vote on whether to ban all cell phone use for drivers Monday.

The sponsor told FOX 11 it could be a life-saver, while others questioned whether it’s necessary.

Green Bay Alderman Jerry Wiezbiskie said banning all cell phone use behind the wheel would make the city’s streets safer.

“Could defray a lot of accidents. From my own observance, I’ve seen too many people, I’m talking like 90 percent, of people that pass me when I’m out shoveling my driveway, they’re on their phone,” Wiezbiskie explained.

Wiezbiskie’s idea is based on an ordinance recently passed in Wausau where drivers face a $40 fine for talking on the phone and driving. GPS devices and hands-free phones are still allowed.

But during Monday’s committee meeting, some of Wiezbiskie’s colleagues questioned the idea.  Alderman Mark Steuer told FOX 11 there is a texting while driving ban statewide, among other laws.

“There’s already an inattentive driving ordinance out there, in the state and we’re just wondering if this would add too much, or would this be redundant?” said Steuer.

But Wiezbiskie told us inattentive driving could mean just about anything. It puts responsibility on the police officer to prove a driver’s cell phone use caused a problem.

However, others had concerns about how a ban would be enforced, or if there would be any costs.

“Looking at it from a safety issue, if our law department and our police department both feel it’s important, because they’re the ones dealing with it on a daily basis, then we’d definitely look into it,” Steuer explained.

“We should take responsibility and enforce what we can and insist people make wiser decisions,” said Wiezbiskie.

The protection and welfare committee plans to discuss the measure again in about a month.

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