A state law is now in effect that bans using a handheld mobile device while driving through any work zone. Violating the law will cost you $40 the first time and $100 for every subsequent offense.

The law reinforces what every responsible driver should already be doing, says Marathon County Chief Deputy Sheriff Chad Billeb. That means putting down electronic devices not only in areas marked by large orange signs, but also where utility work is being performed, Billeb says. Wisconsin sees an average of nearly 2,000 work zone crashes each year, according to Department of Transportation statistics.

Hands-free and Bluetooth devices are exempt under the new law, and remain legal to use. That could be short-lived, however, as some studies are emerging that show even hands-free devices can distract drivers and contribute to crashes. There is also an exception for drivers to use a handheld mobile device when dialing 911 in an emergency.

As for texting while driving, Wisconsin continues to have a “zero tolerance” policy for the practice. State law forbids driving while composing or sending an electronic text or mail message. Mobile device use is a factor in about 25% of all crashes nationwide, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.