Wisconsin

Highway safety laws differ from state to state. The summary information here can be used to compare laws in specific categories. We monitor legislative changes and update this information as needed.

RESTRICTIONS ON CELLPHONE USE AND TEXTING
Hand-held ban no
Young drivers all cellphone ban learner's permit and intermediate license holders
Texting ban all drivers
Enforcement primary
MAXIMUM POSTED SPEED LIMITS
Rural interstates (mph) 65
Urban interstates (mph) 65
Other limited access roads (mph) 65
Other roads (mph) 55
YOUNG DRIVER LICENSING SYSTEMS
To get a learners license you must:
Have a minimum age of 15, 6 months1
YOUNG DRIVER LICENSING SYSTEMS
Before getting a license or restricted license you must:
Have a mandatory holding period of 6 months1
Have a minimum supervised driving time of 30 hours, 10 of which must be at night1
Have a minimum age of 162
YOUNG DRIVER LICENSING SYSTEMS
Restrictions during intermediate or restricted license stage:
Nighttime restrictions midnight-5 a.m.
Passenger restrictions

(family members excepted unless otherwise noted)
no more than 1 passenger
YOUNG DRIVER LICENSING SYSTEMS
Minimum age at which restrictions may be lifted:
Nighttime restrictions 9 months or until age 18, whichever occurs first (min. age: 16, 9 mos.)
Passenger restrictions 9 months or until age 18, whichever occurs first (min. age: 16, 9 mos.)
REGULAR LICENSING RENEWAL CYCLE
Length of regular renewal cycle 8 years
OLDER DRIVER SPECIAL LICENSING PROVISIONS
Accelerated renewal none
Other provisions none
CHILD RESTRAINTS
Must be in child restraint children younger than 1 and all children who weigh less than 20 pounds are required to be in a rear-facing infant seat; children 1 through 3 years who weigh at least 20 pounds but less than 40 pounds are required to be in a rear-facing infant seat or a forward-facing child safety seat; children 4 through 7 who both weigh at least 40 pounds but less than 80 pounds and who are less than 57 inches tall are required to be in a forward-facing child safety seat or a booster seat
Adult safety belt permissible 8 years and younger and more than 80 pounds and 57 inches or taller
Maximum fine 1st offense $75
Seating preference children 3 and younger must be in a rear seat, if available
Children not covered all children covered
SAFETY BELT USE
Initial effective date 12/01/87
Standard enforcement? yes; effective 06/30/09
Who is covered? In what seats? 8+ years in all seats
Maximum fine 1st offense $10
Can nonuse decrease monetary awards for injuries in lawsuits? yes
MOTORCYCLE HELMET USE
Motorcyclists covered 17 and younger3
BICYCLE HELMET USE
Covered by state law no law
PICKUP TRUCKS: RESTRICTIONS ON RIDING IN CARGO AREAS
Restrictions on riding in cargo areas yes4
Gaps in coverage inapplicable to enclosed areas; farm operations; parades; deer hunting; employees; people riding in truck bodies in spaces intended for merchandise
LOW-SPEED VEHICLES
On which roads are low-speed vehicles permitted? local option may allow use on roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less
What is the top speed permissible for low-speed vehicles? 25 mph

1In Wisconsin, enrollment in driver education is required for permit applicants younger than 18. During the learner’s stage, permit holders may carry three passengers if supervised by a driving instructor in a dual-control vehicle. Permit holders 16 and older may carry one passenger 25 or older who has been licensed at least two years.

2In Wisconsin driver education is required for license applicants younger than 18.

3Motorcycle helmet laws in Wisconsin cover operators with instructional/learner's permits.

4This provision is designed to prohibit riding on hoods, fenders, and other places not designed for passengers. The exemption for people in the body of a truck applies to enclosed areas like the cargo area of a straight truck or van.