WISCONSIN - Teens in Wisconsin now have one more reason to put down the cell phone when they get behind the wheel.
The law is written to stop drivers with an instruction permit or probationary license from using their phone, unless it's an emergency.
Sergeant Rich Reichenberger of the State Patrol, says, "Basically it's new drivers. Anyone, if you get your license at the age of 16, it extends out at least until you're 19-years-old. That also effects new drivers to the state who have been on a probationary license in another state. Also, drivers from another country as well."
You can still use the phone if you pull over to the side of the road and turn on your flashers, but the goal is to keep drivers focused on the task at hand, the road, Reichenberger says, "Basically the law is in effect because, as being a new driver, there's a lot of things going on that you have to get used to. Your attention is divided anyway, watching other vehicles and things like that. Adding that cell phone and talking on the cell phone, you get kind of caught up in your conversation."
As a reminder no one of any age or with any license is allowed to text and drive.
Wisconsin ranks among the highest in the nation for fatal accidents involving young people and police hope this will drive us towards zero deaths in Wisconsin.
New radio meter technology could help with water waste issues
RHINELANDER - Technology seems to change almost daily. That's why the City of Rhinelander Public Works Department is growing its use of radio water meter devices.
A little blue box takes in signals from radio water meters on certain homes installed with radio meters. Workers don't even need to get out of their cars to get a reading.
More than 200 homes in Rhinelander use the technology, but there are more then 3200 water customers in the area.
But Rhinelander Public Works Director Tim Kingman says the radio meters make the process much faster.
"An employee can go into a an area where these radio read instruments or meters are used and touch a button and it collects several if not dozens of meter readings at a time," Kingman said.
Tom Roeser reads meters, installs radio meters and does other kind of work for the Rhinelander Water Department. He has to walk through plenty of yards to get to readers.
"Oh yeah I get asked what I'm doing a lot," Roeser said.
For most of the properties in Rhinelander, Roeser uses a touch stick to automatically send readings to a wireless receiver he carries with him.
"You don't have to scroll to find out where you are in your route," Roeser said. "You can just read it and it moves into the hand held and you can continue on."
If the reader doesn't work, Roeser punches in the reading by hand. The department installs the radio meters on homes that are more spaced out, which helps speed up the process.
Rhinelander bills water quarterly, so every three months. A city wide radio meter system would speed up the process so much the city could have monthly billing. The upgrade would help customers find water waste issues sooner because they would see signs of it in their bill more often.
"We try to do that frequently as possibly can," Kingman said. "But with a quarterly system we're not able to do that as quickly as we would desire."
Kingman says right now it wouldn't be worth it to upgrade the entire system. The cost would outweigh the benefits to taxpayers and customers. So they'll take their time and upgrade little by little.
"We're trying to do two or three percent a year,"Kingman said.
That means Roeser will have plenty of walking ahead of him, but that's what he likes.
"The radar reads are fine, especially on the long runs," Roeser said. "But I like doing the walking."
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