Archive for Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Kansas lawmakers to debate ban on texting while driving

December 15, 2009


Kansas lawmakers will try to put the brakes on texting while driving.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday agreed to introduce a bill on the issue during the 2010 legislative session that starts next month.

Chairman Jay Emler, R-Lindsborg, said, “We need to have the discussion.”

The bill that Emler contemplates would make texting while driving a criminal offense with possible jail time.

More than 20 states have banned texting while driving as studies show drivers are many times more likely to contribute to an accident when texting and driving.

Emler said he got on the interstate last night behind a driver who was obviously texting. The driver was traveling around 45 mph for at least two miles while cars were passing by.

“It’s just wrong,” he said.


hujiko 8 years, 5 months ago

Do it! Do it! Do it! Do it! Do it! Do it! Do it! Do it!

1029 8 years, 5 months ago

I don't know how anybody can text and drive anyway. I tried it once and kept hitting the wrong buttons because I was too afraid to look away from the road for more than a second or two. It took me like 5 miles to send a text that was only like 50 characters long and by the time I was done I had spilled beer all over my lap and driven right past my exit.

sinedie 8 years, 5 months ago


It's fine to make your own decisions, but what if your decisions impact others? What if I plow into your car because I was distracted with my phone?

Fred Whitehead Jr. 8 years, 5 months ago

What is to debate? If you drive drunk or under the influance of drugs, you go to jail. What is the difference? I see idiots with cell phones and other electronic fruits (pods, berries, ect) weaving in and out of traffice and driving erratically every day.

timetospeakup 8 years, 5 months ago

Why not outlaw driving 30 mph under the prevailing speed on the interstate instead?

dani36921 8 years, 5 months ago

this ban is useless... how well are cops going to be able to tell if someone is texting while driving? And I mean going to jail for texting while driving?!?! Are our jails empty or something?!?

notajayhawk 8 years, 5 months ago

WTF? This ban is bu ....................................l .............................................l




gladiatr 8 years, 5 months ago

I think they should debate this issue, while driving, via text messages.

1southernjayhawk 8 years, 5 months ago

This debate should take about 2 minutes and is long overdue. Might as well throw in talking on the phone without a hands-free device with the same legislation. Justanothertroll, a cyclist friend of mine was run over last summer in broad daylight by an inattentive texter. The killer was probably about your age and naivete level.

jayhawks71 8 years, 5 months ago

"Why not outlaw driving 30 mph under the prevailing speed on the interstate instead?"

"I thought going under 45mph on the interstate was illegal. Did that law get changed?"

I believe the first poster used "prevailing" to suggest that anyone going under 60 (30 below the prevailing speed of 90) would get a ticket in his/her world.

Evan Ridenour 8 years, 5 months ago

"Emler said he got on the interstate last night behind a driver who was obviously texting. The driver was traveling around 45 mph for at least two miles while cars were passing by."

This is how every stupid statute on the books got there. All it takes is one full of himself state representative to get annoyed with something. I am sure there is already some criminal offense for driving recklessly, why don't the cops enforce that against everyone... not just the people texting but the people eating, reading, doing their makeup/hair, looking behind them to yell at their kids, etc. There are about a hundred different ways for people to drive distracted and as a driver and a long distance runner in this city I can tell you that I see way more people driving dangerously due to reasons other than texting... I also never see a cop go out of his way to pull someone swerving around over... hmm...

mkierl 8 years, 5 months ago

what's to debate? we should not only ban texting, but also talking while driving. the only pushback i can imagine is from mobile phone companies and related suppliers. seriously, if it's that important, pull over.

Evan Ridenour 8 years, 5 months ago

My point is that there are hundreds of completely different but equally distracting things you can do while driving (and people do them, just as much as texting). There cannot and SHOULD not be a criminal statute on the books for every specific little thing that annoys some KS hick legislator. And you are wrong as to the fact that it is difficult to prosecute. Without going into details... when something is referred to as a criminal offense it doesn't automatically mean lengthy/expensive court trial with a hired attorney and threat of jail time it can be as simple as a ticket (read: fine) that you pay and go on your merry way which is exactly what this would be almost certainly. This happens all the time in this state, just not enough. There are not enough police, especially in Lawrence, dedicated to traffic issues (and the ones not dedicated to traffic issues can't be bothered to do anything no matter how ridiculous someone is driving). This bill won't change anything if it were passed because there is already an ability to pull over and fine these people, it is just that no one bothers to do it. If an officer won't pull over someone swerving in and out of his line right in front of him he isn't about to be bothered to peer into each car he is around to look for someone texting. That is an asinine expectation. Maybe instead of wasting all of the time babbling on about non-sense and wasting funds in the legislature these idiots could instead give it to the police force so they could afford more officers to enforce existing statutes? Wow... there is a nice thought.

FYI - You don't get off with a hand slap for killing someone while drunk driving. They actually have a specific involuntary manslaughter statute for it and it is a severity level 4 person felony (which if the offender has no history of prior convictions would still get them around 4 years). Understandably it is more difficult to show the elements of the offense which is why there are other offenses that a person may be charged with such as vehicular homicide (sadly it is only a misdemeanor albeit a high class one) and the updated hit and run statute which makes it automatically a felony to flee the scene of an accident in which you have caused great bodily harm to another human being or killed them. This was updated to be a felony in 2006 I believe, I can't quite remember off the top of my head.

mdrndgtl 8 years, 5 months ago

Lets ban driving while old as well...

Stimulus, DWO and Posercare live unprecedented

Darwin bless you all

Rabbitgoesthump 8 years, 5 months ago

I am guilty of texting while driving... But what about people who are driving and trying to program there gps... With all the technology and gadgets in cars I don't think its fair to target just cell phones...And I also have gps on my phone, so where it may look like im texting Im actually holding my phone open trying to use my little gps on my phone I think everyones just going to have to become a more defensive alert driver...

hipper_than_hip 8 years, 5 months ago

I think it's funny that lots of people have been bitching about people texting while driving, but nothing happens at the state level until it affects one of the representives.

nbnozzy 8 years, 5 months ago

Okay you who are against this and WANT to text while driving..... give us ONE good reason why you should be able to do this?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 5 months ago

The dirty little fact that some come close to acknowledging here is that our favored (and in some areas only) method of mass transit, the private auto, is an incredibly dangerous method of getting from point A to point B.

Easily 1/3 of all drivers on the road are woefully unqualified to have a driver's license. And when you add on all the potential distractions such as texting, at least 1/2 of all drivers on the road at any given time are just an accident waiting to happen.

Is it any wonder that 40,000 people die on the roads every year, with hundreds of thousands more seriously injured?

Douglas Garst 8 years, 5 months ago

For those that think this is stupid you have not lost a friend or family member because a person was texting while driving. My nephew and was killed in June 2008 by a driver who was texting. The weather was clear; the road was straight, nothing to obstruct the drivers view EXCEPT HIS CELL PHONE. My sister and brother-in-law and their two other sons suffered a loss that they will live with forever. So for those that believe this law would be stupid then you will sooner or later be the cause of an accident and high probability of taking someone’s life!!!

nobody1793 8 years, 5 months ago

Since the police can't really enforce this, here's a better law: make it legal for a regular citizen who sees someone texting while driving to run that person off the road and beat the crap out of them.

Kent Shrack 8 years, 5 months ago

If they make the law,,, let's not be stupid and restrict it to 21 and younger like some of the other states.

Zachary Stoltenberg 8 years, 5 months ago

I saw Pass It, Baby, Pass It! And while their at it, require Hands Free Devices to talk on the phone. I drive K10 from Lawrence to Kansas City daily and at least twice a week am in danger of being hit or run off the road either by someone screwing around on their phone or by someone who has just had to follow an idiot screwing around on their phone for the last 20 miles and is frustrated as hell. With all the other dangers not able to be stopped, this is an easy one. Why has it taken this long to be considered? Not enough people have died yet?

Chris Ogle 8 years, 5 months ago

At my age, I would need a full size keyboard to text.... let alone try to drive and text. Maybe we should just ban "old farts" .... period.

alm77 8 years, 5 months ago

I don't think this law is about catching someone or enforcing it (although I've seen enough drivers texting to think perhaps a few could be caught), it's about having very serious consequences when someone who caused a wreck is found to have been texting seconds before the crash.

NPR had a story that scared the hell out me a while back. Take a listen yourself:

saoirseglen 8 years, 5 months ago

While driving my pickup and riding my motorcycle I have seen enough distracted drivers that I could clearly tell they were distracted by any number of things, but I have also seen many that seemed to have no apparent cause. My personal solution is to be a proactive, self-aware, defensive driver and watch out for the nutters.

I don't expect the government to protect me from every possible, probable or theoretical harm. I know I have to do what I can to be as safe as possible while operating a vehicle because no one else can do it for me.

I presume if this law passes I will get to call 911 and report daily a list of license plates and vehicle descriptions, including the unit numbers of fire, paramedic and police vehicles that I believe to be driving while distracted. For good measure I guess I should say I believe them to be texting while driving, especially all the police officers that I see clearly cell texting and typing data into their mobile computer units while driving.

preebo 8 years, 5 months ago

It's simple... No cellphones in cars, no matter what age!

One caveat, hands free options.

seriouscat 8 years, 5 months ago

what is there to debate? It's as dangerous as driving drunk. Ban it!

classclown 8 years, 5 months ago

I just want to know one thing.

What does anybody have to text that is so damn important that it absolutely can't wait until the person is not driving?

KansasPerson 8 years, 5 months ago

Yeah, I know it's "just actors" but it's still damn hard to watch. For me, anyway.

EXks 8 years, 5 months ago

Okay, what's next!! A ban on.....driving while shaving?? Applying make up?? Smacking the kids in the back seat??? Frisky girlfriends???

This smacks of socialism!!!!

C'mon teabaggers, it's time to water the tree of liberty!!

BrianR 8 years, 5 months ago

This is such a no-brainer.

You don't tug on Superman's cape You don't spit into the wind You don't pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger And you don't text whilst driving,

Julie Craig 8 years, 5 months ago

Go ahead and pass this, but then focus on the budget crisis and how to stop the bleeding. It doesn't sit well with taxpayers that public school funding is getting slashed.

spiff 8 years, 5 months ago

Only the illiterate or semi-sentient should be allowed to drive

Maddy Griffin 8 years, 5 months ago

What's to debate. Ban all cell phone use in a car unless it is parked.

mom_of_three 8 years, 5 months ago

I will dial the phone at a stop light, but may talk on the speaker when I am moving. Not any different than talking to a passenger sitting next to me in the car.
I don't think we need special laws for distractions....just enforce the current ones.

avoice 8 years, 5 months ago

Community service work instead of jail time. And put them on house arrest. I'm not willing to pay to house & feed people who've been arrested for texting.

Stuart Evans 8 years, 5 months ago

I think it's ridiculous to have redundant laws on the books. everyone seems to need a special law for every little stupid thing. There are already existing laws regarding inattentive & careless driving. This can be enforced if the cops want to, but they won't. it will only be enforced after an accident, just like the current law. but what this really is, is an opportunity to tack one more offense on to an accident. it's just an additional tax.

Stuart Evans 8 years, 5 months ago

so, if I get pulled over for texting, but I was actually just shuffling through my ipod playlist, wouldn't that clear me? or do they need to write another law that says no mp3 or ipods use too?

Mel Briscoe 8 years, 5 months ago

what's the debate?? why even argue about it or discuss it? just ban it. that has to be one of the most dangerous, fool-hearty and asinine things to come along in decades-- texting while driving. whoever does that is an effing dolt.

ScottyMac 8 years, 5 months ago

"mom_of_three (Anonymous) says…

I will dial the phone at a stop light, but may talk on the speaker when I am moving. Not any different than talking to a passenger sitting next to me in the car. "

Sorry, mom, but you are completely wrong here. The key difference is that the passenger is in the car with you. She can see when you need to be fully focused and when you don't.

Your passenger will adjust her conversation with you according to the real time conditions. A caller on the phone can't. This is why cell phones are distracting, whether or not the driver uses hands-free devices. Hands-free devices are not safer than hand-held, and both are way more dangerous than talking to a passenger.

Check out this link for a more developed discussion of the issue:

kansasmom 8 years, 5 months ago

So while I can drive while "dialing" a number on my cell because I am not texting, I am making a call or does that count as texting?

kansasmom 8 years, 5 months ago

I think we need to ban letting dogs or animals RIDE on your lap while driving.

LoveThsLife 8 years, 5 months ago

I heard that texting while driving impares you more than drunk driving..don't know if it is true but it makes sense.

saoirseglen 8 years, 5 months ago

I would presume that those of you who hate the idea so much of someone texting while driving also never, ever do any of the following while driving:

1) Have a passenger or passengers in your car 2) Use a cell phone 3) Use the car radio 4) Use a GPS system 5) Adjust the climate controls 6) Eat anything 7) Drink anything 8) Refer to any written directions to reach a destination 9) Transport pets 10) Use any type of other music playing device 11) Put on makeup or shave 12) Daydream 13) Think of anything at all other than having 100% focus on driving 14) Take any medications at all regardless of what they are for

If any of you can comply with not doing any of those fourteen things above while driving as well as never texting while driving then I might respect your opinion about it. I for one see the matter as one based on individuals knowing when they need to focus on driving more and other things less and when they can afford to multitask. The act of driving is already a unification of multiple tasks. Even adjusting climate controls or a sunvisor while driving may be too much for some, but not even a worry for others. Where are we going to draw the line?

Perhaps what I need to do when I see distracted drivers that almost hit me is follow them to their destination, pull them out of their vehicle and beat the daylights out of them to get the point across? Or would it simply make more sense for me to drive proactively, defensively and with more awareness that others may not be as attentive as I am and accept that others will do things that I cannot control?

mom_of_three 8 years, 5 months ago

Yeah, scottymac, you are not me. Statistics are great, but don't tell the entire story.
I don't look at the phone while I talk. I look at the road. If the passenger is in the car, I am more apt to pay attention to them. And there is no guarantee the passenger is paying attention to the road either. Conversations will be shorter on the phone.

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