Letters to the Editor

Letter: Distracted driver

July 6, 2013


To the editor:

This is addressed to the driver of a dark gray or blue Chevy Impala, with Douglas County license plates. I followed you on K-10 on Wednesday, July 3, around 5:45 a.m., from Eudora all the way to Overland Park. You caught my attention because you were weaving back and forth onto the shoulder, crossing over the center line, and changing lanes without a turn signal.

I passed you just after De Soto, and I looked over to see what you might be doing. Imagine my surprise to see a man in his mid to late 30s holding a cell phone in his right hand, apparently reading something or texting. You passed me several miles later, and again, I noticed you had a phone in your hand and were occupied with something other than driving. You continued to weave across the center line and onto the shoulder until I took my exit at Quivira and lost sight of you.

Do you not realize how dangerous this was?  I have seen the horrible injuries caused by car accidents, caused by inattentive and impaired driving. For heaven’s sake, put down your phone and concentrate on the road. There is nothing important enough on your phone to risk an accident. Even if you don’t care enough about yourself, think of the other drivers around you that are endangered by your carelessness!

I encourage all drivers to put away their phones and save texting for when you are safely stopped and not driving your car!


Robert Rauktis 4 years, 10 months ago

If they thought about it, they might be able to read a newspaper and care. Reality is they will be just another tragic death. Unfortunately, someone else might go with them. And stupidity trumps any preventive measures. At any rate, it's the taxpayer's bridge abutment.

Why smart phones aren't and Darwin was right.

Matthew Herbert 4 years, 10 months ago

I followed a "Wow!" employee doing the same thing yesterday through the construction zone of Iowa street. When it became two lanes again, I went around and saw him staring down at his phone, eyes completely off the road.. Wow, literally.

Richard Njoroge 4 years, 10 months ago

Well said by everyone .not as smart as their cell phones

jack22 4 years, 10 months ago

This kind of behavior is becoming a real problem. I think driving while texting is just as dangerous as driving drunk and should be treated as such. How many fatal traffic accidents will it take before we get serious about banning driving with hand held electronic devices? Where are the Mothers against texting while driving?

Scott Morgan 4 years, 10 months ago

and our personal rights keep disappearing.

Eugehne Normandin 4 years, 10 months ago

you have a personal right to not pay attention while driving ???

Scott Morgan 4 years, 10 months ago

One of the most effective ways to stop poor driving skills is to post an officer on top of a bridge, hint K-10 with binoculars. Speeding, careless driving, cell phone abuse, no problem. Officer spots, pulls onto K-10 while a another officer pulls the lawbreaker over. Two patrol cars pull the offender over. Bada bing, done. If the offender fights the ticket in court, the police can seek phone records.

Why ban cell phones for all drivers?

jack22 4 years, 10 months ago

Why? Because driving while using them is dangerous and puts other people at risk of being injured or killed. There are no safe drunk drivers and there are no safe distracted drivers, the law should apply evenly.

FlintlockRifle 4 years, 10 months ago

Well put lady, and right on target. Like poster above, call the partrol.

Liberty275 4 years, 10 months ago

So you are going to report some guy using his phone while driving by using your phone while driving because yer pretty sure you can do that.


Liberty275 4 years, 10 months ago

Sure. I went to some guys house to buy a fishtank. I got within a mile and called him and he talked me to his house. Are you going to come peek in my windows and spend as much time on the phone as I did telling on me?

Seriously? Have you ever called 911 on the road? I've done it twice, to report dogs loose on an interstate and to report a car crash I wasn't in. Both required me to be on the phone at least 10 minutes. How long are you going to follow someone while on the phone telling the authorities the perp made a right turn?

If you use 911 to report an auto acting weird, you better be ready to follow them until the police catch up and can stop the car or you are just wasting time. Tag numbers are not people.

Try this. Mind your business. If someone is on the phone next to you, slow down or speed up, get away from them and live your own life.

CHEEZIT 4 years, 10 months ago

Pretty sure that is what the police would tell you to do. Slow down and stay away from them!

Liberty275 4 years, 10 months ago

People need to concentrate on driving their car and maybe spend a little less time peeking in other drivers' windows.

kernal 4 years, 10 months ago

I you can live with yourself after causing a wreck that kills someone's mother, father or child, just because you can't resist tweeting while driving, then keep at it because the odds are not in your favor.

If you text while driving on the job and have a wreck, don't expect work comp to cover you. I'm not sure if your employer's insurance will cover any of the costs if you're driving a company vehicle, but you employers should find out and make sure you have a written anti-texting on the job policy signed and agreed to by your employees.

Kirk Larson 4 years, 10 months ago

As a bicycle rider, I see a lot of drivers on the phone. Often running stop signs and lights, swerving and such.

Liberty275 4 years, 10 months ago

I saw a bike blow the stop sign at haskell/31 the other day.

Liberty275 4 years, 10 months ago

It was a girl. If she had hit a car, she would have scratched the paint with her compound fractures and I would have had to go around.

Amy Gottschamer 4 years, 10 months ago

Not the point. Bicyclists are bound by the same traffic laws as cars.

Abdu Omar 4 years, 10 months ago

Yes, Cappy, and I see a lot of bike riders who run lights and get into the middle of the lane not letting motor vehicles to pass. Sometimes I think they are unaware that they are riding a bicycle, not driving a car. When they act like a bicyclest and obey signals, I will be impressed.

repaste 4 years, 10 months ago

The law clearly states that if the lane is too small to allow ta car and bike to share, (allowing for the 3 ft clearance and any debris/obstacles on edge of road), the cyclist shall take the whole lane to prevent drivers from attempting to pass. I see very few riders run lights, they are allowed in some cases by the "Dead red" law. I see far, far more cars running through crosswalks and rolling through stop signs. A bike is supposed to act like a car, even though it is not. http://www.kansascyclist.com/kansas_cycling_laws.html

jafs 4 years, 10 months ago

Source for that claim?

The only relevant law I know of is the one that states that cyclists traveling slower then the prevailing speed of traffic are supposed to ride as far to the right as is practical.

And, what is the "dead red" law?

Brian Laird 4 years, 10 months ago

Here is the description of the "Dead Red" law. Basically, many intersections - especially in Lawrence - have sensors that detect if a vehicle approaches an intersection from the less-busy direction. If no vehicle is there the light doesn't change. However, a problem is that bicycles and some motorcycles are too small to trip the sensor, so you could come to an intersection and the light would never change (until a car approached the intersection). This has happened to me frequently at 19th and Louisiana. Basically, this law allows you to proceed against the light after waiting a reasonable amount of time and checking if it is safe to do so.

(4) "The driver of a motorcycle or a person riding a bicycle facing any steady red signal, which fails to change to a green light within a reasonable period of time because of a signal malfunction or because the signal has failed to detect the arrival of the motorcycle or bicycle because of its size or weight, shall have the right to proceed subject to the rules stated herein. After stopping, the driver or rider shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle in or near the intersection or approaching on a roadway so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time such driver or rider is moving across or within the intersection or junction of roadways. Such motorcycle or bicycle traffic shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians lawfully within an adjacent crosswalk and to other traffic lawfully using the intersection." Note: This is the so-called Dead Red law, which allows bicyclists and motorcylists to legally proceed through inoperative red lights in Kansas when it's safe to do so.

repaste 4 years, 10 months ago

http://www.kansascyclist.com/kansas_cycling_laws.html They get that road. I see far, far more cars roll through crosswalks than cyclist run stop signs, very rarely see cyclists run red light, (maybe excluding KU region), which they are allowed to do under "dead red " law.

jafs 4 years, 10 months ago

The vast overwhelming majority of the cyclists I see on the road don't follow the correct laws and procedures.

There are also a lot of automobile drivers that don't drive correctly, as well.

jafs 4 years, 10 months ago

I was unaware of one aspect, the "dead red" law.

Other than that, I'm very well informed about cyclists and what they're supposed to do.

If cyclists want the respect and consideration they claim to want on the road, then they should follow the law. They have as much responsibility to do that as automobile drivers do, in my opinion.

If they want to flout the law, and be inconsiderate, then they shouldn't expect respect and consideration from folks driving cars.

And, no, a simple bike/car collision wouldn't kill somebody in a car, but a multi-car accident caused by an irresponsible cyclist very well might.

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