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TowTimes.com - Wisconsin Senate Approves Highway Safety Zone Bill


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Source: News release from the Wisconsin Towing Association to its members


On October 20, the Wisconsin State Senate approved Assembly Bill 297, which if enacted into law, will create “Highway Responder Safety Zones” in Wisconsin. This is a major victory for emergency responders and tow operators in a continued effort to keep them safe when responding to roadside assistance or emergency calls.


Under the bill, these safety zones would be initiated when roadside responders, including fire, police, highway departments, EMS or towing, are present and assisting at traffic incidents. Similar to current law construction zones, fines and penalties would be increased for distracted driving infractions while passing through these zones.


Highlights of the bill are as follows:

• The bill greatly increases penalties for certain traffic violations within 500 feet of an authorized emergency vehicle giving a visible signal, or a tow truck displaying flashing red lamps.

• These traffic violations include failing to follow certain traffic signs and signals, failing to follow certain orders of traffic officers, exceeding certain maximum speed limits, and driving recklessly and using a wireless phone while in one of these zones.

• Minimum and maximum fines are doubled and any injury to a responder is a $10,000 fine and/or nine months in prison.


The Senate added an amendment to the bill that removes a provision allowing for the temporary reduction of speed if a highway is being constructed, reconstructed, maintained or repaired. We do not believe this is a problematic revision to the bill, but with this new amendment, the bill must return to the assembly for final approval as amended. Once that is done, it will be sent to the Governor for (hopefully) his  signature into law.

[The association will] provide more information as it becomes available, including information regarding the bill’s signing.



View the full article and more on TowTimes.com

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