Test Mistakes

Cell phone use while driving

True or false? It is always illegal to use a cell phone while driving.

A. True.
B. False.

On several practice tests, a majority of users answer A. True.

If you want to master your permit knowledge test or driver’s license test it may be a good idea to stop for a minute or two and think here. Is it always illegal?

So far no state in United States prohibits cell phone use all together – and it is not likely going to happen either. So, why do a majority of users of our practice tests think that is the case?

How We Read

Computerized testing has one big disadvantage and that basically has to do with our frequent exposure to online content. We tend to read quickly, merely skimming or glancing at content on a screen. We group paragraphs and phrases into an image that look familiar, instead of reading critically. This is, of course, dangerous when it comes to taking a computerized exam.

During all reading we do not simply take in the words, we match the words with ideas and thoughts from our own experience. Unconsciously, we strive to put the words into some context. To do that we may need to add information to get a better picture, and we do that based on who we are and our previous knowledge. The result can become a context that we believe is the truth even though it isn’t. We may actually think that text gave us all information, even parts we unconsciously added ourselves.

I think most of us played games like pass the message and whisper down the lane at school. Basically, the same thing happens.

The Cell Phone Case

From the driver’s manual or driver handbook we know that distracted driving is dangerous and should be avoided. Using a cell phone while driving is one example of distracted driving. Because of the danger and the high risk of accidents among teenagers, cell phone use is usually prohibited for drivers with a permit or restricted license (laws differ). Many states also have laws that prohibits use of a cell phone without handsfree devices and that prohibits texting.

This is like feeding a lot of “no” into our heads.

Furthermore, your experience may tell you that the correct answer on an official test from DMV is more likely to be the most restricted one (“always illegal”).

Critical Reading

Without critical reading we try to gain knowledge by just memorizing the statements within a text. “Do not talk and drive”. We do not ask questions and we do not analyze purpose or reasons. We are satisfied with the mere words and the context we create.

With critical reading, we slow down. We read with an open mind. We ask how and why. What does the text actually say and what does it mean.

In the case with illegal cell phone use, would it even be possible to prohibit all cell phone use? What would be the reason for doing this? How would be enforced? What does the law actually say?

You get the idea.

You Shouldn’t

Now, back to the cell phone. Change the question to: Should you use a cell phone while driving? That question is completely different and requires another answer.

You shouldn’t use a cell phone while driving. With some critical reading you also know why. You know that for some it may even be illegal.


New Cell Phone Law in Wisconsin

Young Woman Using Cell Phone While Driving


As of today, November 1, drivers with an instruction permit or probationary license are prohibited from using a cellular or other wireless telephone while driving.

In Wisconsin, anyone learning to drive must first obtain an instruction permit. You are eligible for an instruction permit at age 15-1/2. A probationary license can be issued if you are at least 16-years-old and have held an instruction permit for six months.

In addition to new drivers, probationary licenses are required for the following:

  • Drivers licensed in other countries.
  • Persons with suspended or revoked instruction permits or probationary licenses.
  • New state residents who have fewer than three years of driving experience.
  • New state residents under the age of 21.
  • New state residents who surrender a license that is expired for more than six months.

Wisconsin law also prohibits texting while driving
for all motorists of all ages. That law went into effect in December 2010.

32 states and the District of Columbia have already banned all cell phone use by novice drivers.


Read more: www.dot.wisconsin.gov

Nevada DMV Test Update

Nevada bans handheld cell phones


In 2011, Nevada banned handheld cell phone use.

As of January 1, 2012, fines up to $250 are imposed for using a handheld phone or similar device to talk, read or type. This includes surfing the internet, texting, electronic messaging and instant messaging.

The free DMV tests at driversprep.com are now updated with the new laws regarding cell phone use.

The law states that the use of a handheld cell phone or other handheld wireless communications device to engage voice communications is prohibited.

You may use a handheld cellphone only to report an emergency, and only if stopping the vehicle would be inadvisable, impractical or dangerous.

Not only is cell phone use while driving banned in Nevada, but you are up to four times more likely to crash when driving while talking on a cell phone.

It is important to remember that there are more than 3,500 distraction-related crashes in Nevada every year. Across the nation, nearly 5,500 people died and half a million were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2009.

Make any necessary phone calls before or after driving. If you must make a call while driving, pull over to a safe area such as a parking lot before making or receiving a call or texting.