The city of Hudson has joined neighbor Minnesota in instituting a hand-free driving law after Hudson Common Council approved the ordinance at its Aug. 5 meeting. The law will go into effect after it is published.
The penalty is a $98 bond.
The city prohibits the use of a hand-held mobile telephone or mobile electronic device.while driving. Use includes dialing, answering, talking, listening, sending or reading a text message, and manipulating any other of the controls, according to the ordinance. Any driver who holds a device to their ear is presumed to be using it as prohibited in the ordinance.
Exemptions include use in an emergency and voice-operated devices.
Chief Geoff Willems said education will be important in ensuring enforcement.
“We’re going to try to put it out there as much as we can so that people can be aware,” Willems said.
The ordinance was proposed by Tom and Wendy Goeltz, who lost their daughter Megan in 2016 when her vehicle was hit by a distracted driver. Megan was pregnant and left behind a 3-year-old daughter.
The Goeltzes were part of the effort behind the Minnesota hands-free law, which went into effect Aug. 1. An increased penalty bill did not go through with it.
“There’s still work to be done there,” Tom Goeltz said.
His hope is to bring a similar statewide law to Wisconsin, ideally within the next year.
“That’s fairly optimistic, but I am optimistic,” Goeltz said.