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Waupaca County bans hand-held cell phones while driving

Waupaca County has become the first Wisconsin county to ban hand-held cell phones while driving.

Supervisor Jack Penney proposed the ordinance, saying they've had about a dozen traffic accidents in the last year that were cell-related.

The measure passed 26-1. It bans talking, listening, answering, dialing or texting on a cell phone in a way that keeps both hands from being on the steering wheel.

Hands-free units are still allowed, and individuals can still use a cell for calling 911 or other emergencies.

Violators will get a $75 ticket - but once all the court costs and surcharges are added, the real penalty is $217.50.

Drivers won't necessarily be warned about the law when they come into Waupaca County.

Penney says those signs are not needed.

Chief sheriff's deputy Al Kraeger promises discretion in enforcement. He says those caught driving inappropriately will most likely be the ones to be stopped.

Marshfield passed a city-wide ban earlier this year but signs are posted at the city limits that warn drivers.

A state law to ban hand-held cell phone use never went anywhere a couple years ago.