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2013 - 2014 LEGISLATURE
September 24, 2013 - Introduced by Senators Olsen, Shilling, T. Cullen, Lehman,
Risser and Schultz, cosponsored by Representatives Bies, Zepnick, Ballweg,
Berceau, Billings, Czaja, Doyle, Kahl, T. Larson, Ohnstad, A. Ott, Riemer,
Ripp and Sinicki. Referred to Committee on Transportation, Public Safety, and
Veterans and Military Affairs.
SB307,1,9 1An Act to amend 343.30 (1), 343.31 (3) (a), 343.31 (3) (c), 343.31 (3) (f), 343.38
2(1) (intro.), 343.38 (3), 345.47 (1) (intro.), 345.60 (1), 346.17 (4), 346.22 (1) (a),
3(b), (d) and (e), 346.22 (3), 346.65 (3m), 346.65 (3p), 346.65 (3r), 346.95 (1) and
4(2) and 349.06 (1) (a); and to create 38.04 (4) (e) 7., 115.28 (11) (g), 340.01 (74p),
5343.31 (2t) (a) 4. and 5., 343.31 (2v), 343.71 (5) (g), 345.60 (5), 346.17 (6), 346.22
6(5), 346.30 (5), 346.36 (3), 346.43 (4), 346.49 (5), 346.56 (5), 346.60 (6), 346.74
7(7), 346.82 (3) and 346.95 (12) of the statutes; relating to: traffic violations
8resulting in harm to vulnerable highway users, driver education instruction,
9and providing a penalty.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill creates penalty enhancements for traffic violations that result in
bodily harm, great bodily harm, or death (collectively "harm") to vulnerable highway
users. The bill defines "vulnerable highway user" as any of the following: 1) a
pedestrian; 2) a bicyclist; 3) an operator of a moped or motor bicycle; 4) an operator
of, or passenger on, an animal-drawn vehicle, farm tractor, farm truck tractor, farm
trailer, or implement of husbandry; 5) a person riding upon in-line skates, a horse,
or a play vehicle; 6) a law enforcement officer, traffic officer, fire fighter, or emergency

medical technician, while performing his or her official duties; or 7) a person who is
rendering medical or emergency assistance to another person. For most traffic
violations, the bill doubles the applicable forfeiture or fine if the violation results in
harm to a vulnerable highway user, and this doubling is in addition to any other
applicable penalty enhancement, such as the doubling for certain traffic violations
committed in highway maintenance or construction areas or in utility work areas.
However, as discussed below, for specific violations, the bill makes the offense a Class
B misdemeanor if the violation results in great bodily harm to a vulnerable highway
user or a Class A misdemeanor if the violation results in death to a vulnerable
highway user. A Class B misdemeanor is punishable by a fine not exceeding $1,000
or imprisonment not exceeding 90 days or both. A Class A misdemeanor is
punishable by a fine not exceeding $10,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 9 months
or both.
Under current law, a person who causes the death of another by operating or
handling a vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant is guilty of a Class D
felony or, if the person has been convicted of a prior operating under the influence
of an intoxicant or other drug (OWI) offense relating to, a Class C felony. A Class C
felony is punishable by a fine not exceeding $100,000 or imprisonment not exceeding
40 years or both. A Class D felony is punishable by a fine not exceeding $100,000 or
imprisonment not exceeding 25 years or both. In addition, if a person is convicted
of causing the death of another by OWI, the Department of Transportation (DOT)
must in most cases revoke the person's operating privilege for 5 years. A person who
causes great bodily harm to another by OWI is guilty of a Class F felony. A Class F
felony is punishable by a fine not exceeding $25,000 or imprisonment not exceeding
12 years and 6 months or both. In addition, if a person is convicted of causing great
bodily harm to another by OWI, DOT must in most cases revoke the person's
operating privilege for 2 years. A person who causes injury to another by OWI may
be fined not less then $300 nor more than $2,000 and imprisoned for not less than
30 days nor more than one year or, if the person has been convicted of a prior
OWI-related offense, is guilty of a Class H felony.
Under this bill, the penalties are doubled for a person who causes injury by OWI
to a vulnerable highway user. Also, DOT must in most cases revoke the person's
operating privilege for 5 years and 6 months or 2 years and 6 months, respectively,
for a person who causes the death of a vulnerable highway user by OWI or great
bodily harm to a vulnerable highway user by OWI.
Under current law, the operator of a vehicle must yield the right-of-way to
another vehicle under certain circumstances, including: when turning left across
traffic; at an intersection posted with a yield sign; when entering a through highway
or a highway from an alley or driveway or from a parked or standing position; or when
entering a highway from another highway that ends at a "T" intersection. A person
who fails to yield the right-of-way as required is subject to a forfeiture of not less
than $20 nor more than $50 for a first offense and not less than $50 nor more than
$100 for any subsequent offense within a year. However, if the violation results in
bodily harm, great bodily harm, or death to another, the person must forfeit,
respectively, $200, $500, or $1,000 for the violation and DOT must suspend the

person's operating privilege for, respectively, 2 months, 3 months or 9 months. Before
the person's operating privilege may be reinstated, the person must complete a
vehicle right-of-way course approved by DOT.
Under this bill, the penalty for a failure to yield violation is increased to a Class
B misdemeanor if the violation results in great bodily harm to a vulnerable highway
user and is increased to a Class A misdemeanor if the violation results in death to
a vulnerable highway user. In addition to these increased penalties, DOT must
suspend the violator's operating privilege for, respectively, six months or one year.
As under current law, before the person's operating privilege may be reinstated, the
person must complete a vehicle right-of-way course approved by DOT.
Under current law, the operator of a motor vehicle must yield the right-of-way
to livestock being driven over or along the highway. A person who fails to yield the
right-of-way to livestock is subject to a forfeiture of not less than $10 nor more than
$20 for the first offense and not less than $25 nor more than $50 for the second or
subsequent offense within a year.
Under this bill, the penalty for a failure to yield to livestock violation is
increased to a Class B misdemeanor if the violation results in great bodily harm to
a vulnerable highway user and is increased to a Class A misdemeanor if the violation
results in death to a vulnerable highway user. In addition to these increased
penalties, DOT must suspend the violator's operating privilege for, respectively, six
months or one year. Before the person's operating privilege may be reinstated, the
person must complete a safe driver course approved by DOT.
Under current law, the operator of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle
proceeding in the same direction must exercise due care, leaving a safe distance but
at least three feet clearance when passing the bicycle, and must maintain clearance
until safely past the overtaken bicycle. Also, if the operator of a motor vehicle
overtakes a motor bus that is stopped at an intersection on the right side of the
roadway and that is receiving or discharging passengers, the operator must pass at
a safe distance to the left of the motor bus and may not turn to the right in front of
the motor bus at that intersection. A person who commits such a passing violation
is subject to a forfeiture of not less than $25 nor more than $200 for the first offense
and not less than $50 nor more than $500 for the second or subsequent offense within
four years.
Under this bill, the penalty for a passing violation is increased to a Class B
misdemeanor if the violation results in great bodily harm to a vulnerable highway
user and is increased to a Class A misdemeanor if the violation results in death to
a vulnerable highway user. In addition to these increased penalties, DOT must
suspend the violator's operating privilege for, respectively, six months or one year.
Before the person's operating privilege may be reinstated, the person must complete
a safe driver course approved by DOT.
Current law prohibits inattentive driving of a motor vehicle, which includes:
1) being so engaged or occupied, while driving a motor vehicle, as to interfere with
the safe driving of the vehicle; 2) operating a motor vehicle equipped with a television
or similar device in the front of the vehicle or otherwise visible to the operator; and
3) driving a motor vehicle while composing or sending an electronic text message or

an e-mail message; and 4) driving a motor vehicle while using a cellular or wireless
telephone, if the driver holds a probationary license or instruction permit. Any
person who commits form 1) or 3) of inattentive driving is subject to a forfeiture of
not less than $20 nor more than $400 and any person who commits form 2) or 4) of
inattentive driving is subject to a forfeiture of not less than $20 nor more than $40
for the first offense and not less than $50 nor more than $100 for the second or
subsequent offense within a year.
Under this bill, the penalty for an inattentive driving violation is increased to
a Class B misdemeanor if the violation results in great bodily harm to a vulnerable
highway user and is increased to a Class A misdemeanor if the violation results in
death to a vulnerable highway user. In addition to these increased penalties, DOT
must suspend the violator's operating privilege for, respectively, six months or one
year. Before the person's operating privilege may be reinstated, the person must
complete a safe driver course approved by DOT.
Under current law, local authorities may enact and enforce traffic regulations
that are in strict conformity with state statutes and that provide for a forfeiture as
a penalty.
Under this bill, if a local authority enacts a traffic regulation in strict
conformity with a state statute and the statutory penalty is doubled if the violation
results in harm to a vulnerable highway user, the applicable ordinance penalty for
the ordinance violation must also include the doubling of the forfeiture.
Current law allows a court to order a person who is convicted of a traffic
violation to attend traffic safety school. However, as discussed above, for a vehicle
failure-to-yield violation, DOT, rather than a court, must order the violator to attend
a vehicle right-of-way course.
Current law prohibits a person from causing bodily harm, great bodily harm,
or death to another by the negligent operation of a vehicle (reckless driving). A
person who commits a reckless driving violation that causes great bodily harm or
death must have his or her operating privilege revoked by DOT for one year.
Under this bill, if a person is convicted of a reckless driving violation that causes
great bodily harm or death, or of causing the death of another or great bodily harm
or injury to another by OWI, DOT must order the person to attend a safe driver course
approved by DOT and the person must successfully complete the course before DOT
may reinstate the person's operating privilege. This course is required in addition
to any other penalty imposed for the violation.
Under current law, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) must approve
driver education courses offered by school districts, county children with disabilities
education boards, and technical college districts. DPI must also establish minimum
standards for driver education courses offered by private driver schools. DPI may
not approve a driver education course or establish driver education course standards
unless the course or standards include certain content, such as acquainting students
with the hazards posed by farm machinery and animals on highways and by railroad
grade crossings and providing instruction in safely dealing with these hazards.
Under current law, the Technical College System Board (TCSB) must approve
courses of study for each program offered in technical college district schools,

including driver education courses. TCSB may not approve a driver education course
unless the course includes certain content, such as acquainting students with the
hazards posed by farm machinery and animals on highways and by railroad grade
crossings and providing instruction in safely dealing with these hazards. DOT
licenses private driver schools and DOT may not license a driver school unless its
course of instruction includes the content required for TCSB approval of a driver
education course.
Under this bill, all approved driver education courses must acquaint each
student with the hazards posed by motor vehicles to vulnerable highway users and
provide at least 30 minutes of instruction in safely dealing with these hazards.
Because this bill creates a new crime or revises a penalty for an existing crime,
the Joint Review Committee on Criminal Penalties may be requested to prepare a
report concerning the proposed penalty and the costs or savings that are likely to
result if the bill is enacted.
For further information see the state and local fiscal estimate, which will be
printed as an appendix to this bill.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
SB307,1 1Section 1. 38.04 (4) (e) 7. of the statutes is created to read:
SB307,5,42 38.04 (4) (e) 7. Acquaints each student with the hazards posed by motor
3vehicles to vulnerable highway users, as defined in s. 340.01 (74p), and provides at
4least 30 minutes of instruction in safely dealing with these hazards.
SB307,2 5Section 2. 115.28 (11) (g) of the statutes is created to read:
SB307,5,86 115.28 (11) (g) Acquaint each student with the hazards posed by motor vehicles
7to vulnerable highway users, as defined in s. 340.01 (74p), and provide at least 30
8minutes of instruction in safely dealing with these hazards.
SB307,3 9Section 3. 340.01 (74p) of the statutes is created to read:
SB307,5,1010 340.01 (74p) "Vulnerable highway user" means any of the following:
SB307,5,1111 (a) A pedestrian.
SB307,5,1212 (b) A bicyclist.
SB307,5,1313 (c) An operator of a moped or motor bicycle.
SB307,6,2
1(d) An operator of, or passenger on, an animal-drawn vehicle, farm tractor,
2farm truck tractor, farm trailer, or implement of husbandry.
SB307,6,33 (e) A person riding upon in-line skates, a horse, or a play vehicle.
SB307,6,54 (f) A law enforcement officer, traffic officer, fire fighter, or emergency medical
5technician, while performing his or her official duties.
SB307,6,76 (g) A person who is rendering medical or emergency assistance to another
7person.
SB307,4 8Section 4. 343.30 (1) of the statutes is amended to read:
SB307,6,149 343.30 (1) A court may suspend a person's operating privilege for any period
10not exceeding one year upon such person's conviction in such court of violating any
11of the state traffic laws or any local ordinance enacted under ch. 349, other than a
12violation of s. 346.075, 346.18, 346.21, or 346.89, or a local ordinance in conformity
13with s. 346.075, 346.18, 346.21, or 346.89, for which operating privilege suspension
14is required under s. 343.31 (2t) (a) or (2v) (b).
SB307,5 15Section 5. 343.31 (2t) (a) 4. and 5. of the statutes are created to read:
SB307,6,1816 343.31 (2t) (a) 4. Notwithstanding subds. 1. to 3., for a period of 6 months, if
17the offense resulted in great bodily harm to a vulnerable highway user but did not
18result in death to a vulnerable highway user.
SB307,6,2019 5. Notwithstanding subds. 1. to 3., for a period of one year, if the offense resulted
20in death to a vulnerable highway user.
SB307,6 21Section 6. 343.31 (2v) of the statutes is created to read:
SB307,6,2222 343.31 (2v) (a) In this subsection:
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