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Drivers who photograph crash sites could face a huge fine under new Wisconsin law

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A new Wisconsin law sets up major penalties for drivers who whip out their phones to snap a photo of a crash.

In December 2021, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers signed into law a bill making it illegal for drivers to use their phones within 500 feet of the scene of a motor vehicle crash.

Officials hope that the new law will save lives by discouraging rubbernecking and distracted driving.

The bill was co-authored by State Rep. Jesse James.

The new misdemeanor crime is punishable by maximum penalties of $10,000, nine months in jail, a safe driver course, and 100 to 200 hours of community service.

Officials hope that discouraging drivers from filming will help keep traffic flowing and prevent secondary crashes.

“You notice that it’s a lot. Compared to what it was just a few years ago. Everybody’s got to post their pictures and their video. They’ve got to be the first ones,” Sgt. Mark Patterson of the La Crosse County Sheriff’s Office told News8000.

“These accidents, these crashes can be avoided as long as people just pay attention to the roadway in front of them. It’s a matter of life and death. That’s what it comes down to,” James said.

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