Vehicle Safety Laws Myths vs. Facts

On average, 552 individuals die every year in vehicle accidents in the state of Wisconsin (WisDOT  Database, 2018). Forest County had 2 people die each year in car accidents from the years of 2013-2017. Every year, thousands of children are killed or injured in car crashes. With the proper use of a car seats and knowledge of Wisconsin’s traffic safety laws may keep many more individuals safe.

  1. Myth or Fact: A one-year old child who weighs 25 pounds should be put in forward facing car seat? Myth– According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), “all infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing seats, as long as possible, until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat manufacturer.”  With most car seats, they permit a child to ride rear-facing car seat for two or more years; dependent on their height and weight.
  2. Myth or Fact: The Safety Responsibility Law applies to all operators and owners of vehicles whom are involved in reportable crashes in the state of Wisconsin? Fact– The WisDOT DMV Facts from 2017 indicate, “The Safety Responsibility Law was enacted in 1945 to protect persons who suffer damages in crashes caused by uninsured motorists. The program provides an incentive for motorists to carry liability insurance or otherwise satisfy crash damages. The law imposes driver licensing and motor vehicle registration sanctions against uninsured motorists who do not pay for the damages they cause.”
  3. Myth or Fact: In the state of Wisconsin, only when the vehicles are damaged do you have to report it? Myth– Per Wisconsin Statute 346.70 (1), any crash within the State of Wisconsin must be reported when it results in following: 1) Injury of a person, 2) $1,000 or more damage to any person’s vehicle or property, and 3) Damage of $200 or more to state or other government-owned property other than a vehicle.
  4. Myth of Fact: Texting while driving is against the law for ALL drivers in Wisconsin? Fact– According to Wisconsin State Legislature 346.89 (1), “No person while driving a motor vehicle may be engaged or occupied with an activity, other than driving the vehicle, that interferes or reasonably appears to interfere with the person’s ability to drive the vehicle safely.” This includes the following statement 346.89 (3) (a), “No person may drive, as defined in s. 343.305 (1) (b), any motor vehicle while composing or sending an electronic text message or an electronic mail message.”
  5. Myth or Fact: Kids under 8 years old must be seated in federally approved safety seats or boosters until they reach over 80 pounds in weight, or are taller than 4 feet 9 inches? Fact– According to Wisconsin State Legislature, 347.48 (4) (am) “No person may transport a child under the age of 8 in a motor vehicle unless the child is restrained in compliance with par. (as) in a safety restraint system that is appropriate to the child’s age and size and that meets the standards established by the department under this paragraph. The department shall, by rule, establish standards in compliance with applicable federal standards, including standards under 49 CFR 571.213, for child safety restraint systems.”

For more information:

Traffic Safety Laws in Wisconsin