WISCONSIN (NBC 26) - A new bill just signed into law by Governor Evers this week aims to better protect roadside response crews from distracted drivers. The new law will do so by increasing the consequences for drivers who injure roadside response crews because they have their phones in their hands, rather than on their steering wheels.
The law takes aim at drivers who try to take video or pictures of EMTs, tow truck drivers, and even firefighters on the scene of car wrecks. The idea is to deter them from driving distracted near these crews by increasing the penalty for doing so to as much as $10,000 if someone is injured, or as many as nine months behind bars. Locally, at Wilson's Towing in Neenah, a tow truck driver says it's an increase for a growing offense that is long overdue.
"I know it's more and more common, you see squad cars getting hit, ambulances getting hit, tow truck drivers getting killed. So, I'm really hoping that someone will start paying attention," Says Nicholas Mayconich of Wilson's Towing in Neenah.
Mayconich, who has been a tow truck driver for five years, says for nearly every bad car wreck he is needed on the side of the road, a driver passing by is almost always compelled to break out their phone and snap a picture as they pass. This new law hopes to change habits like those.