Archive for Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Family of Cainan Shutt urge passage of bill making K-10 safety corridor

A wreath stands where 5-year-old Cainan Shutt of Eudora died in April in an accident on Kansas Highway 10 east of Lawrence. A white cross for Ryan Pittman, 24, also killed in that crash, sits next to the highway. Carie Lawrence, the grandmother of 5-year-old Cainan Shutt, urged legislators on Wednesday to approve a bill that would double fines on the highway.

A wreath stands where 5-year-old Cainan Shutt of Eudora died in April in an accident on Kansas Highway 10 east of Lawrence. A white cross for Ryan Pittman, 24, also killed in that crash, sits next to the highway. Carie Lawrence, the grandmother of 5-year-old Cainan Shutt, urged legislators on Wednesday to approve a bill that would double fines on the highway.

February 1, 2012

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Ali Shutt (left) and Carie Lawrence speak with legislators on Wednesday after a hearing before the Senate Transportation Committee on a bill that would designate highway safety corridors and double fines on those roads. Transportation officials say they want to make Kansas Highway 10 a safety corridor. Last April, 5-year-old Cainan Shutt was killed in an accident where a vehicle crossed over the median and struck the van he was riding in. His mother, Ali, and grandmother, Carie, attended the committee hearing.

Ali Shutt (left) and Carie Lawrence speak with legislators on Wednesday after a hearing before the Senate Transportation Committee on a bill that would designate highway safety corridors and double fines on those roads. Transportation officials say they want to make Kansas Highway 10 a safety corridor. Last April, 5-year-old Cainan Shutt was killed in an accident where a vehicle crossed over the median and struck the van he was riding in. His mother, Ali, and grandmother, Carie, attended the committee hearing.

Related document

Senate Bill 342 ( .PDF )

— Carie Lawrence, the grandmother of 5-year-old Cainan Shutt, who was killed in a traffic accident on Kansas Highway 10 last year, urged legislators on Wednesday to approve a bill that would double fines on the highway.

Before the accident last year, “We had a good life,” Lawrence said. Now, she said, the family is devastated.

“You can make a difference,” Lawrence told the Senate Transportation Committee. “Pass this bill.”

Cainan’s mother, Ali Shutt, sat in the audience. She had planned to speak to the committee, but her emotions took over and she couldn’t bring herself to talk. After the hearing, the committee took Senate Bill 342 under advisement.

The measure would allow the Kansas Department of Transportation to designate safety corridors on busy stretches of roads that have numerous crashes.

In those corridors, signs would be posted warning motorists that traffic fines for moving violations would be doubled along the route. The additional funds collected from the fines would be turned over to the state for enhanced enforcement, signing, education and other safety strategies along the corridors.

KDOT proposes designating K-10 and U.S. Highway 54 through Wichita as safety corridors.

Last April, a car driven by 24-year-old Ryan Pittman crossed from the eastbound to westbound lanes on K-10 near Eudora and struck a minivan in which Cainan was riding. Both Pittman and Cainan died. A toxicology report indicated that Pittman tested positive for a therapeutic level of methadone, an elevated level of tramadol and the active components of marijuana.

The accident spurred KDOT to move forward with a plan to install cable-median barriers.

But Eudora Mayor Scott Hopson said more was needed to slow down motorists on K-10.

Passage of the bill “is very important to our community,” Hopson said.

He said it is common to see motorists driving 80 mph and 85 mph on K-10. And, he said, many are inattentive because they are texting. He said that while riding his motorcycle on K-10 he had been run off the road several times by motorists.

Hopson said that because K-10 is such a wide and smooth highway, drivers get lulled into a false sense of security.

State Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, testified for the bill, saying it “will ultimately save lives.”

Jerry Younger, deputy secretary for KDOT, said safety corridor programs in other states have reduced crashes and fatalities. Between 2002 and 2007, there was a 42.3 percent decrease in crashes in New Mexico’s Safety corridors, he said.

State Sen. Les Donovan, R-Wichita, said that while improvements to U.S. 54 have been welcome, the accidents have become “horrific.”

“I think this is a long time coming,” Donovan said of the bill.

State Sen. Mike Peterson, R-Wichita, said he thought the program would be more effective if it designated specific areas as safety corridors instead of long stretches of road. He said a safety corridor along Interstate 40 in New Mexico “appeared to be there just for the collection of revenue.”

Tom Whitaker, executive director of the Kansas Motor Carriers Association, said the bill should only double fines for speeding and not other moving violations.

And he said the bill should limit KDOT to designating no more than three safety corridors until the agency determines whether the program is effective in reducing crashes.

Comments

hipper_than_hip 3 years, 3 months ago

How will increased fines and signs warning of increased fines for traffic violations stop someone from driving who is high and already driving on a suspended license?

itsalwayssunnyinlarry 3 years, 3 months ago

exactly. This doesnt make sense for k10. I feel for those who have to commute on k10 every day, especially if they lower the speed limits. People mostly drive under the speed limit as is.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 3 years, 3 months ago

As good as it feels to some, you can not legislate morality. There is not a good answer to the safety on that road. If they want to slow down cross over traffic, I would think one option would be to fill the median with sand in the troubled areas.

rgh 3 years, 3 months ago

Some of these areas need to have reduced speed limits as well. This is a good start but doesn't go far enough. My county has a 4 lane divided highway with a speed limit of 70 mph with numerous intersections with absolutely no signs of crossings, no stop lights, no reduced speed signs, nothing. There are businesses and a movie theater along the entire route. Talk about needless loss of life thanks to the DOT on that lovely 15 mile stretch.

DRsmith 3 years, 3 months ago

Curious as to why they were testifying. Aren't there laws against using drugs and driving? How is a safety corridor going to help that?

gatekeeper 3 years, 3 months ago

It won't change anything. Last night with traffic doing about 80 on K-10, an officer was sitting in the median & didn't bother to pull anyone over. They don't enforce anything on K-10. Someone drunk or high obviously doesn't care.

notorious_agenda 3 years, 3 months ago

Under 80 in Kansas is a non moving violation by law. its a 40$ ticket. Thats not worth the time when everyone is doing that speed. Now over 80 is a moving violation and they make considerably more. If you dont know the laws tho why complain ?

itsalwayssunnyinlarry 3 years, 3 months ago

with court fees 80 in a 70 was $112 on i70 in 2008.

sad_lawrencian 3 years, 3 months ago

Exqueeze me, but how does making a highway a "safety corridor" result in drivers driving more slowly and conscientiously?

notorious_agenda 3 years, 3 months ago

Its the only way in the state of Kansas that they can double your fines on an entire highway. They think the additional penalty will make people slow down.

Kontum1972 3 years, 3 months ago

lower the damn speed limit....or post 2,000.00 fines...hit the pocketbook...if u cant pay the fine u go to jail for a couple of weeks...and lose your license for a year i quit using k-10..i just go thru Tongie then catch the link-up's to wherever i want to go in KC

gatekeeper 3 years, 3 months ago

Or how about just enforce the current speed limit?

I've driven on safety corridors in the SW and truck drivers and other zip past me going way, way over the speed limit. Increased fines don't do anything.

Speeding isn't what's caused all the wrecks on K-10. Drunk and inattentive drivers have been at fault.

itsalwayssunnyinlarry 3 years, 3 months ago

Yeah i'm trying to think of the last cross over fatality that was related to speed, but the last few i can remember were from drinking, sleeping at the wheel, or texting.

notorious_agenda 3 years, 3 months ago

From 2001 to 2010 there were only 21 deaths on K-10 of those only 2 were from crossovers. The proof is in the numbers that speed has very little correlation to death on k-10 more people died of hitting trailers that came loose than from crossover accidents.

I saw all kinds of cars with the stupid "Make k-10 safe" stickers going over 80. If you think putting a sticker on your car makes k-10 safer then by all means get a sticker.

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