Archive for Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Texting ticket

New state laws that ban texting by drivers deserve more vigorous enforcement.

September 14, 2011


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.


beaujackson 6 years, 4 months ago

Texting while driving should result in loss of drivers license for 1 year.

2nd offense - 5 years.

Evan Ridenour 6 years, 4 months ago

She should have not admitted the use of the phone. Then they couldn't have ticketed her for it.

The law is silly for that very reason.

jaywalker 6 years, 4 months ago

It's not a silly law for any reason, but Paul hits it on the head below.

bevy 6 years, 4 months ago

My understanding is that officers can check the phone when they pull you over, to see what time your last message was sent. If you are alone in the car, you can't say that someone else did it.

CreatureComforts 6 years, 4 months ago

This seems easy to fight in court if need be, in the case of a crash. Police are usually not on scene right away - it can take several minutes. If they look through your records, it's hard to prove you sent it right when you crashed. Any lawyer could just say "the defendant pulled off the road, sent the text, then got back on the road and crashed soon after for another reason." I wouldn't put that past a defendant if the ticket were big enough to justify court costs.

jackpot 6 years, 4 months ago

Just have to pull her phone records. It will show if it was in use or not.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 4 months ago

Eride: Two points: They can check your phone records to the minute and second if they want to. The legislature dropped the ball on this one: They should have outlawed all use of all electronic communications in moving vehicles by all people. Driving requires concentration, even in modern, 'safe' and quiet vehicles. If they take this piece-meal approach in the legislature, what is next? Ban watching porno movies while driving, surfing the internet while driving? Since we are all in each other's hands while on the road, it's time for everyone to sit up straight, drive the car and watch out. Anyone in a moving vehicle is 1/5 of a second from disaster.

Liberty275 6 years, 4 months ago

"They can check your phone records to the minute and second if they want to. "

That law can be defeated by installing a simple app on your phone that sends a message at a certain time. You don't even need to use it.

"They should have outlawed all use of all electronic communications in moving vehicles by all people."

More laws make citizens more contemptuous of law. I'd break your above law in a heartbeat, and I'd probably do it just because a bunch of nanny-state legislators stuck their noses too far into my business.

"Anyone in a moving vehicle is 1/5 of a second from disaster."

LOL. I don't think it's possible to wreck a car in .2 seconds. It would take longer than that to purposely veer into the front of an oncoming semi on a two-lane road at 70 MPH.

madameX 6 years, 4 months ago

The thing is, when it comes to whether or it should be illegal to perform distracting tasks while driving, whether or not you do is not just your business. If you could drive in some sort of magic bubble where any mistakes you made could be guaranteed to affect only you then I wouldn't care if you wanted to drive with your feet blindfolded while playing online poker and knocking back tequila shots, but the reality is that if you choose to drive in an unsafe manner then you stand to affect any given person or people sharing the road with you.

I've had someone swerve into my lane several times on K-10 twice within the space of about two minutes because he was texting. I also had a friend get T-boned when someone in an SUV ran a red light at 50 mph or so because he was dialing his cell phone and didn't see that the light had changed. She was injured so badly that she was basically a vegetable at 17 years old, weeks after her high school graduation.

Obviously, accidents can happen any time, but would you seriously put yourself and other at greater risk just to stick to to the "nanny state?"

Carol Bowen 6 years, 4 months ago

The cell phone can only be used as a secondary offense in the state of Kansas. So, there has to be a primary problem like an accident, first.

parrothead8 6 years, 4 months ago

If you're breaking laws just to spite people, then you are: 1) More dangerous on the road than the above-mentioned 16-year-old girl. 2) Seriously lacking in common sense and good judgment. 3) Not welcome around my family, who I'd like to keep safe.

chargeit 6 years, 4 months ago

Breaking the law does not necessarly make it any any less safe.
Take Highway speed limit; same road 1970's - 75mph, 70-80's - 55mph, 90's back to 70mph, now 75mph. What changed other than public feeling?
Many laws are changed or repealed.
Anymore a law only represents enough law makers being swayed by a special interest group or it being thrown in with a larger bill that is signed off on as a whole.

Tristan Moody 6 years, 4 months ago

You really think it's reasonable to ban the person in the back seat from using a cell phone at all? That's just too far.

chargeit 6 years, 4 months ago

It is probably safer if you just sit in your dream rubber room. Texting is a bad idea but education is the only cure.
Giving up my freedoms even at the proported benifit of safety is unacceptable. No one needs more nanny state or "probable cause" excuses for law enforcement (notice they renamed themselves from Peace Officer as attitudes changed to ENFORCING instead of peaceful existance) No one needs age profiling. Does a 16 year old look that much different than 17 or 18yo?

Maybe we should look at annual or bi-annual testing for those over 60? Reduced vision, hearing, reaction times and decision making become compromised as we age. Sometimes I wonder which is more dangerous 11am blue hairs, 3pm after school, 2am bar crowds but then you have rush hours too. What is a worry monger to do? LIVE LIFE TODAY!

jafs 6 years, 4 months ago

Education is not sufficient.

Almost everybody is aware that drinking and driving is a bad idea, yet many people still do it.

We absolutely should be testing older adults on their driving skills.

If everybody acted intelligently and considerately, we would need far fewer laws - unfortunately, that's not the case.

Aiko 6 years, 4 months ago

What about GPS units? They are a form of communication and are electronic. I see people all the time entering in addresses and such on them. (including myself) Is that legal at this point?

CreatureComforts 6 years, 4 months ago

I am trying to remember the original legal wording, but I thought I remember there being an exemption for navigation devices, INCLUDING GPS on your phone

jafs 6 years, 4 months ago

Seems like a funny exception - in my experience it's as distracting to operate a GPS system as it would be to send a text message.

They both require diverting your eyes and your mind from the task of driving.

Carol Bowen 6 years, 4 months ago

A $60 fine is not enough. The driver's offense was serious. Her cohorts will not be impressed with the consequences. She should be required to serve 100 hours of community service in the Emergency Room at LMH. That would be more of a deterrent.

conservative 6 years, 4 months ago

It is a stupid law because there was already a law on the books that covers this along with the rest of distracting things drivers do. It is the inattentive driving law. With it you can also ticket those who are busy changing their radio, putting on makeup, digging for that last fry in the fast food bag, driving with that hamburger in your hands, having an animated discussion with the other people in the car, trying to read where your next turn is off those mapquest directions you printed out...... Etc. Extremely stupid to create a whole new law instead of just enforcing one already on the books. It is kind of like creating a special law forbidding using a sledgehammer to break into a house instead of just using the normal breaking and entering statute. So before you go out in a lynch mob to try and get more tickets written specifically for texting make sure and put down that soda can, have both hands on the wheel and eliminate all other distractions too.

costello 6 years, 4 months ago

I want to know when stopping at stop signs became optional.

Phog67 6 years, 4 months ago

I'm sure with the brilliant minds that develop all the latest gadgets, an "app" or device could be installed in phones that completely stop the ability for phones to work while a car is in motion. I'm sure there is even a way to stop the text message screen from opening up while the car is in motion. Once the car is completely stopped, the phone would be usable again.

Maybe this could even come directly from the cell phone company and be part of a parental control.

I survived high school and, yes, even college without having a cell phone to use while driving. These kids can too.

Katara 6 years, 4 months ago

This is the one I have heard about.

IIRC, there is also a commercial out for Sprint advertising something similar to what you propose.

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