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Questions Linger As New Wausau Ban on Cell Phones While Driving Takes Effect


Now that the snow is done temporarily, Wausau police officers can turn their attention to enforcing other laws like the new cell phone and driving ban.

The ordinance went into effect Saturday in Wausau, and now it's against the law for anyone to be using a hand-held cell phone or GPS while driving.

Now the law may be certain, but how police will enforce has viewers asking a couple questions.

Most of us know what a cell phone is: it's that electronic device that is with us 24/7 , either in our hand or on our ear.

"Using a cell phone isn't only taking your eyes off the road but your mind off the road," Robert Ujda said.

Now, you're going to have to pull off the road to use it now that it's law.

But many people have some questions.

"I heard it was going to start, or maybe it was going to start," Robby Lee Ryan said. "I don't know exactly when."

For Ujda, he asked about which vehicles the ban will apply to.

"Biking and cell phoning," Ujda said. "I typically don't, but how is the ban at all moving vehicles?" How does it affect us?"

"Can they just pull you over if they see you? Do you have to be on it? How do they actually know if you're actually on it?" Ryan asked.

Wausau Police Lieutenant Nathan Pekarske said officers will issue citations by observation.

If officers see a driver on their phone either typing or talking, they'll be able to stop you solely for that reason.

"It's pretty apparent if someone is on their phone," Pekarske said, "if somebody has their cell phone up to their ear."

But what if you're not talking on it? Or, what if you're not texting? What if you made a wrong turn and have to adjust your GPS on your phone?

Lt. Pekarske said if your manipulating your phone while behind the wheel, you could get the $100 ticket.

"I don't think it'll be that tricky to enforce," Pekarske said.

Enforcing may be easy, but getting used to the new law could be hard.

"Clearly this is a change in behavior for drivers in the area," Pekarske said. "So, initially, our approach from now until Memorial Day is to issue warnings."

While questions and "What ifs?" pop up about this ban, the 24/7 device can't be in our hand or on our ear anymore when we drive.


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