2019 - 2020 LEGISLATURE
May 30, 2019 - Introduced by Senators Testin, Ringhand, Feyen,
Marklein, Carpenter, Bernier and Cowles, cosponsored by Representatives
Plumer, Doyle, Krug, Kulp, Mursau, Quinn, Spiros, Skowronski, Stuck,
James, Vruwink, Duchow, Tusler, Shankland, Edming, Brandtjen and Ott.
Referred to Committee on Transportation, Veterans and Military Affairs.
1An Act to amend
346.01 (2); and
38.04 (4) (e) 8., 115.28 (11) (h), 343.71 2
(5) (h), 346.275 and 346.30 (6) of the statutes; relating to: liability of owners
3of vehicles involved in certain speed limit and failure to yield right-of-way
4violations, driver education instruction, and providing a penalty.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill authorizes the citation of owners of vehicles for certain highway work
zone speed and failure to yield violations. The bill also requires driver education
instruction related to highway work zone safety.
Current law imposes, with exceptions, liability on the owner of a vehicle that
is observed violating certain traffic laws, including illegally passing a school bus or
fire truck, illegally crossing a railroad crossing or controlled school crossing, and
failing to yield the right-of-way to an emergency vehicle or a funeral procession.
This bill imposes liability on the owner of a vehicle involved in a violation
related to the failure to yield the right-of-way to certain persons engaged in
maintenance or construction work in a highway work zone. Under this bill, a
flagman who observes a vehicle involved in this sort of a failure to yield violation may
report the violation to a traffic officer so that a citation may be issued.
An owner is subject to the same forfeiture that would be applicable to the
vehicle operator for the violation, but the owner's operating privilege may not be
suspended or revoked, and no demerit points may be recorded against the owner's
driving record. Among the defenses available to an owner, the owner is not liable if
the owner identifies the operator of the vehicle at the time of the violation and the
operator admits to being the operator or if the owner has reported the vehicle as
stolen. If an owner successfully asserts certain defenses, the person operating the
vehicle at the time of the violation may be charged with the violation.
Under current law, the Department of Public Instruction must approve certain
driver education courses offered by school districts and establish minimum
standards for driver education courses offered by private driver schools, the
Technical College System Board must approve courses of study for each program
offered in technical college district schools, including driver education courses, and
the Department of Transportation 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 highway work zones and provide at least 30
minutes of instruction in safely dealing with these hazards.
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:
38.04 (4) (e) 8. of the statutes is created to read:
(e) 8. Acquaints each student with the hazards posed by highway work 3
zones and provides at least 30 minutes of instruction in safely dealing with these 4
115.28 (11) (h) of the statutes is created to read:
(h) Acquaint each student with the hazards posed by highway work 7
zones and provide at least 30 minutes of instruction in safely dealing with these 8
343.71 (5) (h) of the statutes is created to read:
(h) Acquaints each student with the hazards posed by highway work 11
zones and provides at least 30 minutes of instruction in safely dealing with these 12
346.01 (2) of the statutes is amended to read:
In this chapter, notwithstanding s. 340.01 (42), “owner" means, with 2
respect to a vehicle that is registered, or is required to be registered, by a lessee of 3
the vehicle under ch. 341, the lessee of the vehicle for purposes of vehicle owner 4
liability under ss. 346.175, 346.195, 346.205, 346.275,
346.452, 346.457, 346.465, 5
346.485, 346.505 (3), 346.675, and 346.945.
346.275 of the statutes is created to read:
7346.275 Owner's liability for vehicle failing to yield right-of-way to
8persons in a work zone. (1)
Subject to sub. (5) (b), the owner of a vehicle involved 9
in a violation of s. 346.27 is liable for the violation as provided in this section.
A flagman who observes a violation of s. 346.27 may prepare a written 11
report indicating that a violation has occurred. If possible, the report shall contain 12
the following information:
(a) The time and the approximate location at which the violation occurred.
(b) The license number and color of the vehicle involved in the violation.
(c) Identification of the vehicle as an automobile, motor truck, motor bus, 16
motorcycle, or other type of vehicle.
If within 24 hours after observing the violation, the flagman delivers a 18
report under sub. (2) to a traffic officer of the county or municipality in which the 19
violation occurred, the officer may issue a citation under sub. (4). A report that does 20
not contain all the information in sub. (2) shall be maintained by the county or 21
municipality for statistical purposes.
(a) Within 48 hours after receiving a report under sub. (3) containing all the 23
information in sub. (2), the traffic officer may issue a citation for a violation of this 24
section to the owner of the vehicle involved in the violation. A citation for a violation
of this section shall be prepared on a uniform traffic citation form under s. 345.11 and 2
personally served on the owner of the vehicle.
(b) If with reasonable diligence the owner cannot be served under par. (a), 4
service may be made by leaving a copy of the citation at the owner's usual place of 5
abode within this state in the presence of a competent member of the family at least 6
14 years of age, who shall be informed of the contents thereof.
(c) If with reasonable diligence the owner cannot be served under par. (a) or (b) 8
or if the owner lives outside of the jurisdiction of the issuing authority, service may 9
be made by certified mail addressed to the owner's last-known address.
(a) Except as provided in par. (b), it is not a defense to a violation of this 11
section that the owner was not operating the vehicle at the time of the violation.
(b) The following are defenses to a violation of this section:
1. That a report that the vehicle was stolen was made by the owner to a law 14
enforcement agency before the violation occurred or within a reasonable time after 15
the violation occurred.
2. That the owner of the vehicle provided a traffic officer with the name and 17
address of the person operating the vehicle at the time of the violation and the person 18
so named admits operating the vehicle at the time of the violation. In that case, the 19
person operating the vehicle may be charged under s. 346.27.
3. That the vehicle is owned by a lessor of vehicles and is registered in the name 21
of the lessor, that at the time of the violation the vehicle was in the possession of a 22
lessee, and that the lessor provided a traffic officer with the information required 23
under s. 343.46 (3). In that case, the lessee may be charged under s. 346.27.
4. That the vehicle is owned by a dealer, as defined in s. 340.01 (11) (intro.), but 25
including the persons specified in s. 340.01 (11) (a) to (d), that at the time of the
violation the vehicle was being operated by a person on a trial run, and that the 2
dealer provided a traffic officer with the name, address, and operator's license 3
number of the person operating the vehicle. In that case, the person operating the 4
vehicle may be charged under s. 346.27.
346.30 (6) of the statutes is created to read:
A vehicle owner found liable under s. 346.275 may be required to 7
forfeit not less than $60 nor more than $600. Imposition of liability under s. 346.275 8
shall not result in suspension or revocation of a person's operating privilege under 9
s. 343.30, nor shall it result in demerit points being recorded on a person's driving 10
record under s. 343.32 (2) (a).
(1) The treatment of ss. 38.04 (4) (e) 8., 115.28 (11) (h), and 343.71 (5) (h) first 13
applies to driver education courses that begin on the effective date of this subsection.