Texting and Driving in Appleton

Texting and Driving

Texting while driving is prohibited for all drivers in Wisconsin according to the law. In today’s fast-paced world, staying connected is more important than ever. However, the desire for constant communication should never compromise our safety, especially when behind the wheel.

Appleton sees its fair share of accidents caused by distracted driving, with texting being a major contributor. There were over 10,000 distracted driving crashes last year, representing an increase of over 13% from 2020. [1]

Distracted driving was a factor in almost 9,000 crashes in 2020, including 31 deaths. This alarming statistic should serve as a wake-up call to the residents of Appleton, emphasizing the importance of addressing this issue. [2]

As smartphones have become an essential part of our daily lives, more and more people find themselves tempted to answer messages, check social media notifications, or browse the internet, even when they know they should be focusing on the road.

Texting and Driving

Cell Phones, Driving, and the Law in Appleton, Wisconsin

Familiarize yourself with these rules and regulations in Appleton, Wisconsin.

  • Hand-held or hands-free cell phone use while driving is against the law in Wisconsin for any driver with a probationary license or instruction permit, except to report an emergency
  • Texting while driving is against the law for all drivers in Wisconsin
  • Ticket for inattentive driving, a penalty for a texting offense can range from $20 to $400, and four demerit points
  • Demerit points double if you have an instruction permit or probationary license and a prior moving violation
  • Graduated Driver’s License (GDL) restrictions are extended six more months if you have a probationary license, are under GDL restrictions, and have a prior moving conviction
  • If you have an instruction permit, you must wait six months from the date of violation to be eligible for a probationary license [3]

Tips to Avoid Car Crashes

Here are some possible tips that can help you avoid car collision:

  • Turn off your phone or switch to silent mode every time you get behind the wheel
  • Record your voicemail message to tell callers that you are driving
  • Pull over and stop in a safe area if you must use your cell phone
  • Ask a passenger to call or text for you if necessary
Tips to Avoid Car Crashes

Consequences for Texting While Driving

In Appleton, drivers are subject to a license point system. Offenses such as speeding result in the accumulation of demerit points on a driver’s record. Texting and other distractions while driving can lead to fines and a deduction of 4 demerit points.

For regular license holders, the accumulation of 12 demerit points within a calendar year will result in the suspension of their driving license. At the same time, initially, they start with a clean slate of 0 points on their driving record. [4]

  • 12 to 16 points warrant a 2-month suspension
  • 17 to 22 points warrant a 4-month suspension
  • 23 to 30 points warrant a 6-month suspension
  • Over 30 points warrant a 1-year suspension

If distracted drivers cause an accident, they may be held responsible in a civil claim. A person who has been injured or involved in a collision may choose to file charges against the driver at fault in order to seek reimbursement for damages and compensation for their injuries and medical expenses.

Contact Goldberg & Loren’s personal injury lawyers in Appleton today for a free consultation, and seek justice for your texting and driving accident.


In Wisconsin, it is illegal for all drivers to text while driving. A ticket is issued for inattentive driving, resulting in a fine and four demerit points. Demerit points are subject to doubling for individuals with an instruction permit or probationary license who have previously committed a moving violation.

Texting and driving is a dangerous and illegal activity that poses a serious threat to road safety. In Appleton, as in many other places, using a phone while driving is against the law. However, some people may wonder if they can still use voice-to-text technology which is permitted as long as you don't hold the phone. 

Even if you are stopped at a red light, it is still dangerous and illegal to use your phone while driving in Appleton. Texting and driving laws are in place to protect the safety of everyone on the road, including pedestrians and other motorists.

When you are stopped at a red light, it may be tempting to quickly check your messages or respond to a text. However, this can still be considered distracted driving and can result in accidents or near misses. It is important to wait until you are safely parked or have reached your destination before using your phone.

However, when it comes to emergencies, there may be some exceptions to the rule. 

  • Operators of authorized emergency vehicles are not required to follow the state's distracted driving laws.
  • The use of GPS or other navigational systems is permitted.
  • The use of a display screen for monitoring backseat passengers, traffic, road conditions, and weather is allowed.
  • The use of hands-free device voice-to-text mode is permitted for devices.
  • Drivers are only permitted to use their hands to turn features on or off on their devices.

If you see someone texting and driving in Appleton, it is important to take action to protect yourself and others on the road. Maintain a safe distance from the driver, remain calm, and avoid confrontations with the driver.

Try to safely get the license plate number and a description of the vehicle, and report the incident to local law enforcement.



[1] Data from the Wisconsin Dept. of Transportation shows distracted driving is on the rise. (2022, April 6). WGBA NBC 26 in Green Bay. https://www.nbc26.com/news/local-news/data-from-the-wisconsin-dept-of-transportation-shows-distracted-driving-is-on-the-rise

[2] Wisconsin Department of Transportation Safe driving is everyone’s job. (n.d.). https://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/safety/education/safedriving.aspx

[3] Cell Phones, Driving and the Law. (n.d.). https://wisconsindot.gov/Documents/dmv/shared/cell.pdf

[4] Dot, W. (n.d.). Wisconsin DMV Official Government Site – Wisconsin’s point system. https://wisconsindot.gov/pages/dmv/license-drvs/susp-or-rvkd/point-system.aspx

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