Archive for Monday, December 27, 2010

Kansas texting law takes full effect Jan. 1

December 27, 2010


Come Jan. 1, Kansas motorists might want to think twice before picking up a cell phone to send or read a text message.

If they are spotted by a law enforcement officer, that action could cost them a $60 ticket and in Douglas County another $93.50 in court fines.

Following a six-month warning period, the state’s ban on texting goes into effect at the start of 2011.

“It will be enforced like any other Kansas law. You see it, you take care of the problem,” said Lt. Robert Baker with the Kansas Highway Patrol.

Technically, the state law extends beyond texting to instant messages and e-mails. The law states that drivers are prohibited from using a “wireless device to write, send or read a written communication” while driving.

Exceptions are provided to law enforcement officers and emergency service personnel using their phone on the job. Texts messages also can be read for emergency, traffic and weather related alerts, and for receiving information related to operating or navigating the vehicle.

Texting is allowed if it would prevent injury to a person or damage to property and to report a crime.

Baker isn’t concerned that law enforcement officers will have trouble discerning when a driver is sending a text message versus when they are dialing a phone number.

Someone making a phone call looks down for just several seconds. Drivers who are texting can be looking at their phones for 30 to 40 seconds.

“It is very obvious when you are driving down the road,” Baker said.

For those who claim they were dialing, not texting, Baker said they can always contest their ticket in court.

Over the past several months, Baker has written his share of warnings to texting drivers.

“They sit there and apologize. It’s just that folks have so many things going on at one time, but they don’t realize just how dangerous it is,” he said.

If someone has to send or read a text message, Baker recommends they pull over to the side of the road to do it.

Kansas Department of Transportation spokeswoman Kim Qualls said the law couldn’t come at a better time. With winter weather at hand, drivers need to be focused on the road, not their phones, she said.


Benjamin Roberts 7 years, 3 months ago

This is one law, qualifying the privilege of driving, that is long overdue.

"If someone has to send or read a text message, Baker recommends they pull over to the side of the road to do it." - That would certainly reduce traffic; half the cars will be sitting on the side of the road.

Drive Safely!

John Hamm 7 years, 3 months ago

I agree but then they would be rear ended by someone texting who didn't.

yankeevet 7 years, 3 months ago

So they will have to determine how many seconds were u looking down??? wtf

Stuart Evans 7 years, 3 months ago

Great, Now I can only use my phone to browse the internet, play games, peruse my music list, take pictures, and trade stock while driving. It's completely useless if I can't text at the same time.

geekyhost 7 years, 3 months ago

Don't forget to check into FourSquare. You might become mayor of the turnpike!

ronwell_dobbs 7 years, 3 months ago

Maybe it's just me, but the text msg shown in the graphic seems to contain a "phallic" emoticon. (<3). I don't want to pretend to have cracked the young'ens code for something, but, just sayin'.

northtowngrl 7 years, 3 months ago

Yeah, us non-pervs call that a heart or I love you. Grow up already, Geez

Kelly Johnson 7 years, 3 months ago

If you know of any "phallic" that looks like that, I recommend a dr. visit. just sayin'. lol

BigPrune 7 years, 3 months ago

My phone has voice activated text messaging, so I guess I'm exempt.

rgh 7 years, 3 months ago

And thank goodness for these new phones. You can hear a text and read a text. Same as talking on the phone and much preferred over taking your eyes off the road.

yankeevet 7 years, 3 months ago

So u get pulled over and charged by the officer for texting; and u explain to him; no;........i was just calling home on my cell phone.............oh boy; the courts are gonna be busy.... wtf.........

Chris Ogle 7 years, 3 months ago

The law states that drivers are prohibited from using a “wireless device to write, send or read a written communication” while driving.

Is it okay to write a letter???

true_patriot 7 years, 3 months ago

We don't have a severe problem with people writing letters while driving, but we do with texting. While the distraction of talking on the cell phone while driving is about as impairing as drinking and driving, texting while driving is much worse.

As I pointed out in another post, the law seems to have problems with it, but at this point anything we can do to get started cutting down on the number of folks texting and driving will instantly make the roads safer for everybody.

jafs 7 years, 3 months ago

Generally I think this is a good idea, and I hope it will cut down on accidents.

But how will they be able to determine that the person wasn't checking traffic information, for example, which is still legal?

pizzapete 7 years, 3 months ago

Agreed, I'd like to see all cell phone, computer, games, electronic non-driving BS, etc. made illegal while driving.

sherbert 7 years, 3 months ago

I saw 3 different drivers last week with a DOG in their lap. This has got to be the most dangerous of all distractions.

Chelsea Kapfer 7 years, 3 months ago

I totally agree with you! I saw a woman driving with her dog on her lap the other day, AND talking on her cell phone.

Liberty275 7 years, 3 months ago

I saw a woman driving with dog on her lap texting and eating a mcdonalds cheezburger. And barking occasionally.. Yes, it can haz cheezburger, they aren't just for cats.

On with the show...

This sort of stupid kneejerk pile of legislation has become the norm in America. We brought it on ourselves via cowardice and we deserve to pay every dime the government takes from us. Don't worry if you miss getting fined for texting because you don't text - they will eventually make something innocuous that you do illegal and subject to fine. Nobody rides for free.

gsxr600 7 years, 3 months ago

So you really can't even answer your phone then can you..... since you have to read something before you pick it up.

And it's ok to fiddle with radio stations but not change music on my phone. Alright herp derp.

Stuart Evans 7 years, 3 months ago

call screening is prohibited. just answer and take your chances. Kansas State Law # 1,502,371,102,257,193.D

true_patriot 7 years, 3 months ago

It's about time. This was long overdue.

One odd thing - while there are exceptions for everyone to text if saving life or property, reporting a crime, etc., law enforcement & emergency personnel can text while driving. Someone driving a reinforced vehicle while exceeding the speed limit and multi-tasking way beyond even the texting is allowed to text while driving on the job?

The same general exception for emergency texting should just apply across the board to everyone with no special exception for those at much greater risk of being distracted and causing greater damage while texting and driving.

fu7il3 7 years, 3 months ago

Emergency personnel are dispatched a lot anymore by a laptop in the vehicle rather than on the radio. It isn't so they can text so much as “wireless device to write, send or read a written communication” would apply to their computers that they get dispatched by.

Stuart Evans 7 years, 3 months ago

I believe people who are on their way to state own casinos or discussing going to state owned casinos are also exempt... oh wait, that's smoking. sorry, the hypocrisy's sometimes overlap in my head.

Aiko 7 years, 3 months ago

What about eating? I have seen people on the roads many times eating while paying no attention to the people driving around them.

Sean Livingstone 7 years, 3 months ago

It's ok. Their eyes are still available to look at the road in front of them. Some very good drivers who have driven in NYC, LA and Houston traffics can do miracles while driving, but can never text and drive safely. One can eat and drive safely.

Chelsea Kapfer 7 years, 3 months ago

I have never been able to successfully eat a taco and drive, but I applaud those who can.

Sean Livingstone 7 years, 3 months ago

Taco is easy... especially those wrapped up ones. But eating and driving is another story... you can have an oat meal bar or just a few cookies.... and that's no way of listing the kinds of food you can drink or eat. Driving can be dangerous... you're driving a bullet that can kill. You're affecting someone else with your driving skills and concentration. This is something that most kids do not understand or appreciate. Knowing how to drive is one thing, knowing how to drive responsibly is another.

I was driving back from Kansas City on I-70 one day and it began to snow.... I was driving 40mph on I-70.... and I saw so many kids drove past me and I am sure they were driving at over 70mph... and guessed what? I saw more than 20 accidents or slips off the road.... and all are young drivers! I drive for more than 25 years, and I never dare to drive at that speed when it began to snow! It's the same.... I observed most of the drivers who use their cellphone, text or even eat.... are mostly kids.... or at least they looked pretty young. I'm not saying that there ain't any older drivers who do that. They'll ruin their lives and others if they don't learn how to be responsible when they're driving.

Sean Livingstone 7 years, 3 months ago

Most of those whom I saw spoke on cellphones or text are women.... not all, but most. This should take care of them.

kernal 7 years, 3 months ago

That's right; men just stop in the middle of the road to chat and text on their phones.

Sean Livingstone 7 years, 3 months ago

I see many skeptics here... if you're trying to joke, that's fine. I can help defend why texting is not ok: Your eyes!

When you eat, pet your dogs, talk on cellphone, talk to friends..... your eyes are still on the road (or at least you can still do so if you want).

However, you need your eyes when you're texting, and you'll not be able to look in front. Don't give me the crap that oh, I often look at my friends when I'm talking, I look at my dogs when I'm talking, I look at my food when I'm eating. You don't have to in most cases, and only need to catch a short glimpse. And don't tell me you can text and not look at your keyboard and what you're typing. Many other countries ban talking on the cellphone when you're driving.

Sean Livingstone 7 years, 3 months ago

Even when you type on a "normal" keyboard, you still look at your screen right?

Sean Livingstone 7 years, 3 months ago

I will give it to you... you can type with your eyes fixed on the road.... how about your hands? Don't tell you me you don't both hands to type?

iLikelawrence 7 years, 3 months ago

Can I text while driving to report a violation- like seeing someone else texting while driving? I wonder if the officer would find that acceptable....

In all seriousness, I've found that the smarter my phone is the harder it is to use while a vehicle in motion. Gone are the t9 days sending a message without having to even watch the screen so I can watch the road. Now my Pre stays in my pocket pretty much 99% of the time. Except when I report people texting while driving.

Sean Livingstone 7 years, 3 months ago

You know it's easier to call 911 on your cellphone right? What if you are trying to report a crime and text and you get involved in an accident? You know if you saw a crime, you need to slow down and observe to determine if it's really a crime before you report it. Tell me, how can you continue to drive at usual speed if you need to observe if that's a crime or not?

cozy 7 years, 3 months ago

Which road are they watching, though?

Haiku 7 years, 3 months ago

Drinking while driving is most dangerous of all. You could spill your beer.

Sean Livingstone 7 years, 3 months ago

Some drunks can drive safely... that's true. Just like some people can text and drive. However, it's often the irresponsible people who drink and drive and those kids who text and drive (I've never ever seen an old lady texting and driving!).... and thus these groups of people caused more accidents! Each one of us has different tolerance.... however, it's really difficult for law enforcers to determine what's our tolerance. So they have to set a limit. I have a high tolerance on alcohol... and three cans of beer will do nothing on my brain... but hey, I obey the law and never drink when I want to drive.

Liberty275 7 years, 3 months ago

I can attest to this. I did a study last night (I was wearing a lab coat, I swear) on drinking and driving. I started a 50 lap Forza 3 race in an R2 car (a mosler, insanely fast) around Silverstone. I slowed down every fourth back straight for a hit on the scotch bottle. I made all 50 laps without wrecking except for a slight brush against the wall on lap 4 when I went off road trying to open the bottle... sober.

Of additional interest, immediately following the silverstone race I ran 50 laps at the nurburgring GP track in an A Class Lambo (a much slower car, yet harder to drive), utterly and completely drunk from the previous race, lapped the field twice and never scratched the car. I did have to pull over once to use the toilet though. Luckily, Germans are cool with that.

Haiku 7 years, 3 months ago

Your itchy fingers can't wait to type "LOL". Meanwhile, head-on.

pooter 7 years, 3 months ago

Just another way for the state to commit highway robbery, by giving big brother yet another reason to pull you over for both inspection and "fines"


Flap Doodle 7 years, 3 months ago

Next up, nose-picking totally banned while driving. If you have to deal with a nose-goblin, pull off to the side of the road.

wtfusa 7 years, 3 months ago

what if i'm stopped at a stop sign, or a red light. I bet there going to pull me over anyways even though thats probably one of the safest situation to text and drive. I also have a problem with reading a text message is counted at texting, i mean I have to read all the time when i'm driving, does society really think i cant handle a quick glimpse of a message. lawmakers are being drunk with banning anything and everything. Also, iphones do a lot more than texting, the music in my car is controlled by my iphone because the radio is awful. am i going to get pulled over for changing a song, because thats as distracting as changing the radio station. this law is another chip away on our rights as american, oh wait those dont exist anymore...

Kelly Johnson 7 years, 3 months ago

I was going to ask the same thing - is being stopped at a light or stop sign considered "driving" for the purposes of this law? (This is a serious question.)

gr 7 years, 3 months ago

Just a hunch, but maybe you should spend more time driving to English and grammar class than texting?

wtfusa 7 years, 3 months ago


gr= these guys

gr 7 years, 3 months ago

Don't forget the apostrophe key, the shift key, and the run-on prevention key.

Liberty275 7 years, 3 months ago

You got sum pretty grammars there little feller. Its good to have smart people like you to make sure the dumb hicks talk right on the forum's.

pizzapete 7 years, 3 months ago

So you're that jackask I''m waiting for to start driving when the light turns green?

kernal 7 years, 3 months ago

I love it when you text at a red light and don't notice it changed to green and back to red before you look up. Why did you think those two cars honked at you - incoming flying dragons? You didn't even notice the guy who gave the one finger salute. Unbelievable.

pfunk81 7 years, 3 months ago

No kidding, court fees are the biggest racket going.

doc1 7 years, 3 months ago

I spoke to a friendly officer who told me that he as well as numerous other officers he knows absolutely loath the 93.50 court cost and to show their dissatisfaction they are more likely to give a warning rather than a ticket because even they know it's highway robbery.

Andrew Reeves 7 years, 3 months ago

I agree with this law. But what I want to ask is, where are the people who disagree with the smoking ban on this issue? If not being allowed to smoke in an establishment is an invasion of your rights, and not being able to choose if your customers are allowed to smoke in your establishment is an invasion of your rights. Isn't being able to choose whether to text or not while driving an issue of individual choice as well?

It just seems a little inconsistent to me. Where are the "We want less government!" people on this? It's just another case of "We want less government (for things we disagree with)!"

evilpenguin 7 years, 3 months ago

Thank Goodness, texting while driving is a ridiculously dangerous thing to attempt. There is a friend of our family who was on a trip one day and her10 year old daughter was in the front passenger seat texting her grandma. She asked her mum to help her send the text and her mum did.

Then she crashed into a road median killing her daughter. And she survived.

If you're not willing to consider your own safety or the safety of others, you should not be allowed to drive.

Next up: Let's not allow people to use cell phones at all while driving. I'm pretty sure nobody's social life is worth it.

Kris_H 7 years, 3 months ago

I don't like to answer my cellphone or make calls while driving, but I sometimes do it. I would definitely never try to text while driving! The existence of this law is testimony to a whole lot of stupidity on the part of many drivers.

It wouldn't break my heart if using a handheld electronic device to do anything while driving were made illegal. Yes, there are dozens of things that are unsafe distractions from driving. That doesn't mean we have to allow the most dangerous ones to continue.

Sean Livingstone 7 years, 3 months ago

Once, someone called me on my cell a few times... I had to pick it up and tell her that I was driving and would call her later... you guess what she said? "Oh, you mean you don't know how to drive and talk at the same time?" I told her: "No, I just don't like to endanger anyone's life"... :)

DrRustinMcGillicuddy 7 years, 3 months ago

1) Put hands at "10" and "2" position 2) Hold phone in hand that is at "2" position 3) Use your peripheral vision to guide your vehicle as you read online articles and or flip through iBooks.

Tip: Reading aloud the text will help with cognition and retention while allowing you to focus on mainly on driving.

kujhawkfan 7 years, 3 months ago

I use my phone for my turn by turn navagation all the time. How is an officer going to know if I'm looking down at a text message or looking down at my GPS. People don't just use phones to text and write emails. So I guess it's ok to take pictures with your phone while you drive or record some video, use your GPS, compass, change the stations on your radio apps, and all the numerous other things smart phones can do. I don't see how any officer can determine which one of those things I'm doing by how long I look at my phone. This law is a joke, there are way too many things phones can do now days besides text and write emails. I see no way they will be able to determine what I'm using my phone for. I plug my phone into my car stereo and use it to play music also.

Sean Livingstone 7 years, 3 months ago

No texting, also mean no GPS, no keying of information on your cellphone, no using it to type anything.... NOTHING! If you want to use your GPS, set it up before you start driving. If you need to sent email, sent it before you start driving. In short, keep your eyes on the road! If you're driving, drive! If you want to text or do something, nothing is as important as driving! If there's case of life and death, it won't come as an email or text message... someone will call you. No one will sent you an email if your loved ones are going to die. When you are driving, and want to record some video, you only need to press a button to start... and whoever needs to make a video when you're driving? You're a film maker? If you're one, get a professional! You can look at your phone, you can play music on your phone, but they don't take that much time! Moreover, you have a radio in your car, and no one listen to MP3 while driving.

This law is not a joke. You are!

gr 7 years, 3 months ago

"The law states that drivers are prohibited from using a “wireless device to write, send or read a written communication” while driving."

Just make sure to plug your phone in. And make sure to use an in-dash or plugged in GPS.

Or is that wireless "transmission" of written communication?

Commenting has been disabled for this item.