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2011 - 2012 LEGISLATURE
February 6, 2012 - Introduced by Senators Schultz, T. Cullen and Taylor,
cosponsored by Representatives Zepnick and Hulsey. Referred to Committee
on Judiciary, Utilities, Commerce, and Government Operations.
SB431,1,9 1An Act to renumber and amend 346.65 (3) and 346.65 (5); to amend 343.31
2(1) (a), 345.47 (1) (intro.), 346.17 (4), 346.22 (1) (a), (b), (c), (d) and (e), 346.22
3(3), 346.95 (1) and (2), 349.06 (1) (a), 940.25 (1m) (a), 940.25 (1m) (b) and 940.25
4(2) (a); and to create 340.01 (74p), 343.30 (1j) (d), 343.30 (1m), 343.31 (1) (ag),
5343.31 (3) (cm), 346.17 (6), 346.22 (5), 346.30 (5), 346.36 (3), 346.43 (4), 346.49
6(5), 346.56 (5), 346.60 (6), 346.65 (3) (b), 346.65 (5) (b), 346.74 (7), 346.82 (3),
7346.95 (12), 939.22 (44m) and 940.25 (1b) of the statutes; relating to: traffic
8violations resulting in harm to vulnerable highway users and providing a
9penalty.
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 an electric personal assistive mobility
device (EPAMD, commonly referred to by the tradename "Segway"); 4) an operator
of a motorcycle, moped, or motor bicycle; 5) an operator of, or passenger on, an
animal-drawn vehicle, farm tractor, farm truck tractor, farm trailer, or implement

of husbandry; 6) a person riding upon in-line skates, a horse, or a play vehicle; 7) a
law enforcement officer, traffic officer, fire fighter, or emergency medical technician,
while performing his or her official duties; or 8) 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, for
specific violations, the bill makes the offense a Class I or Class H felony if the
violation results in harm to a vulnerable highway user. A Class I felony is punishable
by a fine not exceeding $10,000 or imprisonment not exceeding three years and six
months or both. A Class H felony is punishable by a fine not exceeding $10,000 or
imprisonment not exceeding six years or both. Provisions of current law that
increase the forfeiture or fine for violations committed under certain circumstances,
such as in highway maintenance or construction areas or in utility work areas,
continue to apply to these new, higher penalties.
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) offence 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. 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. 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, a person who causes bodily harm by OWI to a vulnerable
highway user is guilty of a Class H felony.
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 the court must suspend the
person's operating privilege for, respectively, 30 days, 90 days, or 9 months.
Under this bill, if such a failure to yield violation results in harm to a vulnerable
highway user, the penalty is increased to a Class I felony, punishable by a fine not
exceeding $10,000 or imprisonment not exceeding three years and six months or

both, and the court must suspend the person's operating privilege for a period of one
year.
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, if such a failure to yield to livestock violation results in harm
to a vulnerable highway user, the penalty is increased to a Class I felony and the
court must suspend the person's operating privilege for a period of one year.
Under current law, the operator of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle or
EPAMD proceeding in the same direction must exercise due care, leaving a safe
distance but at least three feet clearance when passing the bicycle or EPAMD, and
must maintain clearance until safely past the overtaken bicycle or EPAMD. 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, if such a passing violation results in harm to a vulnerable
highway user, the penalty is increased to a Class I felony and the court must suspend
the person's operating privilege for a period of one year.
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. Any person who commits forms 1) and 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) 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, if any inattentive driving violation results in harm to a
vulnerable highway user, the penalty is increased to a Class I felony and the court
must suspend the person's operating privilege for a period of one year.
Current law prohibits a person from causing bodily harm or great bodily harm
to another by the negligent operation of a vehicle (reckless driving). A person who
commits a reckless driving violation that causes bodily harm is subject to a fine of
not less than $300 nor more than $2,000 and may be imprisoned for not less than 30
days nor more than one year. A person who commits a reckless driving violation that
causes great bodily harm is guilty of a Class I felony and must have his or her
operating privilege revoked by the Department of Transportation (DOT) for one year.

Under this bill, a reckless driving violation that causes harm or great bodily
harm to a vulnerable highway user is punishable as a Class H felony and the violator
must have his or her operating privilege revoked by DOT for a period of two years.
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.
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:
SB431, s. 1 1Section 1. 340.01 (74p) of the statutes is created to read:
SB431,4,22 340.01 (74p) "Vulnerable highway user" means any of the following:
SB431,4,33 (a) A pedestrian.
SB431,4,44 (b) A bicyclist.
SB431,4,55 (c) An operator of an electric personal assistive mobility device.
SB431,4,66 (d) An operator of a motorcycle, moped, or motor bicycle.
SB431,4,87 (e) An operator of, or passenger on, an animal-drawn vehicle, farm tractor,
8farm truck tractor, farm trailer, or implement of husbandry.
SB431,4,99 (f) A person riding upon in-line skates, a horse, or a play vehicle.
SB431,4,1110 (g) A law enforcement officer, traffic officer, fire fighter, or emergency medical
11technician, while performing his or her official duties.
SB431,4,1312 (h) A person who is rendering medical or emergency assistance to another
13person.
SB431, s. 2
1Section 2. 343.30 (1j) (d) of the statutes is created to read:
SB431,5,42 343.30 (1j) (d) Notwithstanding pars. (a) to (c), for a period of one year, if the
3offense resulted in bodily harm, great bodily harm, or death to a vulnerable highway
4user.
SB431, s. 3 5Section 3. 343.30 (1m) of the statutes is created to read:
SB431,5,96 343.30 (1m) Upon conviction of a person for violating s. 346.075, 346.21, or
7346.89, the court shall suspend the violator's operating privilege for a period of one
8year if the offense resulted in bodily harm, great bodily harm, or death to a
9vulnerable highway user.
SB431, s. 4 10Section 4. 343.31 (1) (a) of the statutes is amended to read:
SB431,5,1311 343.31 (1) (a) Homicide or, great bodily harm, or harm to a vulnerable highway
12user
resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle and which is criminal under s.
13346.62 (4), 940.06, 940.09, 940.10 or 940.25.
SB431, s. 5 14Section 5. 343.31 (1) (ag) of the statutes is created to read:
SB431,5,1615 343.31 (1) (ag) Bodily harm to a vulnerable highway user resulting from the
16operation of a motor vehicle and which is criminal under s. 346.62 (3).
SB431, s. 6 17Section 6. 343.31 (3) (cm) of the statutes is created to read:
SB431,5,2118 343.31 (3) (cm) Any person convicted under s. 346.62 (3) or (4) or 940.10, or
19under s. 940.06 if the offense resulted from the operation of a motor vehicle, shall
20have his or her operating privilege revoked for 2 years if the offense resulted in bodily
21harm, great bodily harm, or death to a vulnerable highway user.
SB431, s. 7 22Section 7. 345.47 (1) (intro.) of the statutes is amended to read:
SB431,6,1423 345.47 (1) (intro.) If the defendant is found guilty, the court may enter
24judgment against the defendant for a monetary amount not to exceed the maximum
25forfeiture provided for the violation, plus costs, fees, and surcharges imposed under

1ch. 814, and, in addition, may suspend or revoke his or her operating privilege under
2s. 343.30. If the violation is one described in s. 346.17 (6) (c), 346.22 (5) (c), 346.65
3(3) (b) or (5) (b), or 346.95 (12) (c), or if the forfeiture for the violation has been doubled
4under s. 346.17 (6), 346.22 (5), 346.30 (5), 346.36 (3), 346.43 (4), 346.49 (5), 346.56
5(5), 346.60 (6), 346.74 (7), 346.82 (3), 346.95 (12), or 349.06 (4), the court may also
6order the defendant to perform community service work.
Upon entering judgment,
7the court shall notify the defendant personally, if the defendant is present, and in
8writing that the defendant should notify the court if he or she is unable to pay the
9judgment because of poverty, as that term is used in s. 814.29 (1) (d). If the defendant
10is present and the court, using the criteria in s. 814.29 (1) (d), determines that the
11defendant is unable to pay the judgment because of poverty, the court shall provide
12the defendant with an opportunity to pay the judgment in installments, taking into
13account the defendant's income. If the judgment is not paid or if the defendant fails
14to make any ordered installment payment, the court shall order:
SB431, s. 8 15Section 8. 346.17 (4) of the statutes is amended to read:
SB431,6,1916 346.17 (4) Any Except as provided in sub. (6) (c), any person violating s. 346.075
17may be required to forfeit not less than $25 nor more than $200 for the first offense
18and not less than $50 nor more than $500 for the 2nd or subsequent violation within
194 years.
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