We’re glad that a 16-year-old Lawrence girl was not seriously injured Saturday night when she rolled the vehicle she was driving on Kansas Highway 10 east of Lawrence, but we and many others are pleased to see the teen receive a ticket because she was sending a text message on her phone about the same time the accident occurred.
As of July 1, Kansas law made it illegal to write, read or send a written communication using a wireless device while driving. Additional restrictions apply for young drivers. The girl involved in Saturday’s accident also was cited for driving without a valid driver’s license, but all Kansas licenses for drivers under 17 include a ban on any use of a wireless communication device while driving.
It’s a good law that should be more vigorously enforced. There is no doubt that drivers of all ages are dangerously distracted by talking on their phones; those risks are multiplied when drivers attempt to send text messages. It’s true that many other activities also can distract a driver, but the new state laws address one of the worst offenders.
It’s unfortunate that the laws against texting most often won’t be enforced until after an offender has been involved in an accident that may cause serious or fatal injuries. Greater enforcement of the no-texting laws can save lives and should be a higher priority for state and local law enforcement officers.