Distracted Driving Laws in Kansas
Distracted driving in Kansas is a serious issue, as any type of driver distractedness increases a motorist’s chances of getting into a traffic collision. While the act of texting and driving is generally the most dangerous type of distraction, other types of preoccupations are just as dangerous to the driver, as well as to other passengers, motorists and pedestrians on the road. For instance, distractions may include any type of visual, manual or cognitive behavior that diverts a driver’s eyes, hands and mind away from the task of operating an automobile.
According to national distracted driving facts, preoccupied motorists injure more than 1,000 individuals each day and approximately nine people are killed. In 2015, for instance, driver distractedness claimed the lives of 3,477 individuals and contributed to the injuries of 391,000 people. However, motorists can stop distracted driving behaviors by putting their cell phones and other electronic devices down and keeping their eyes on the road. To learn more about driver distractedness, review the information below.
What is distracted driving in Kansas?
Distracted driving accidents in Kansas are all too common, as 3,275 cellphone-related crashes occurred in the state between the years 2011 and 2016. According to local facts about distracted driving, the use of cellphones contributed to 29 fatal crashes, 2,192 property damages and 1,054 injury crashes. Additionally, cell phone use contributed to 31 fatalities and the injuries of 1,461 individuals. However, the use of other types of electronic devices such as GPS systems or stereos contributed to 1,262 crashes between 2011 and 2016. Of these crashes, three were fatal, 394 resulted in injuries and 865 resulted in property damages.
Furthermore, driving distractions in Kansas are not always cellphone-related, as 8,596 crashes were caused by another type of distractive activity between the years 2011 and 2016. For instance, other driver distractions may include reading the newspaper, applying makeup, grooming, eating or drinking and tending to children from behind the wheel of a vehicle. These types of distractions contributed to 41 fatal crashes, 2,588 injury collisions and 5,967 property damages. Between 2011 and 2016, driver distractedness contributed to 46 deaths and 3,898 personal injuries.
While most laws on distracted driving in KS do not prohibit all types of distractive behaviors, any activity that diverts a driver’s mind away from the task of operating a motor vehicle is dangerous. For instance, possible distractions may include the following:
- Adjusting the radio or climate controls
- Interacting with other passengers, including children and pets
- Grooming, smoking, eating or drinking
- Reading maps
- Visual obstructions such as the sunset or bright sunlight
- Reading road advertisements
- Observing a crash scene
Distracted Driving Laws in Kansas for Handheld Devices
Under the KS distracted driving law, motorists are not prohibited from using hand-held electronic devices to dial a phone number or engage in a phone call. The act of talking on the phone while driving is permitted in the state.
Texting and Driving Laws in Kansas
The act of texting while driving in Kansas is prohibited under state law. Under the state’s laws against distracted driving, motorists cannot use electronic devices to read, write or send any type of written communication while operating a motor vehicle. This law pertains to texting, emailing or any other type of manual data entry. However, the use of weather reports or GPS devices is permitted.
Kansas Laws on Distracted Driving for Novice Drivers
Most types of cell phone use while driving a vehicle are prohibited amongst novice drivers in the state. As part of the KS cell phone distraction rules, motorists who are between 14 and 16 years of age and hold an instruction permit or any type of restricted driver’s license are prohibited from using wireless communication devices while operating a vehicle unless they need to do so in an emergency situation. These rules also apply to novice motorists with any type of farm permit. However, these laws do not apply to drivers who are at least 17 years of age.
Kansas Distracted Driving Regulations for CDL Holders
The act of texting while driving in KS is illegal amongst commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders, novice motorists and standard passenger vehicle operators. However, under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), CDL holders are also prohibited from using any type of hand-held electronic device while operating a commercial vehicle. If CDL holders wish to make a phone call, then they need to use a hands-free device, or the phone must be mounted to the vehicle’s dashboard.
Distracted Driving Penalties in Kansas
If motorists receive a distracted driving ticket in KS after committing any type of text messaging violation, then they will need to pay a penalty fee of $60. If commercial vehicle operators violate this law, then they may need to pay a fine of up to $2,750 and repeat offenders may lose their driving credentials through a drivers license suspension or revocation.
Ways to Prevent Distracted Driving in Kansas
To stop distracted driving in KS, it is important to keep several tips in mind before getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. For instance, motorists can reduce distractions by:
- Refraining from using their cellphone while driving unless the vehicle is parked in a safe area.
- Limiting conversations with other passengers, especially emotional or stressful discussions.
- Pulling the vehicle over to eat a snack or drink a beverage, instead of eating or drinking while driving.
- Securing pets in a portable kennel near the back of the vehicle.
- Providing children with plenty of distractions such as toys or books.
- Adjusting the vehicle’s control systems or GPS device before pulling the vehicle onto a public road.