Kansas Distracted Driving Laws
- Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers (Primary Law).
- Ban on texting for all drivers (Primary Law).
Kansas Texting While Driving Stand
The state of Kansas bans texting while driving through legislation that took effect on January 1, 2011. The fine associated with this infringement is $60. The Wichita Police Department wrote 34 tickets for violations of the state texting and driving law in 2011. More than half of these citations went to adults over the age of 25.
Kansas currently has no restrictions on the use of a cell phone while driving. Those drivers with a restricted license, however, are banned from using wireless communication devices. The city of Manhattan, Kansas is an exception to the state laws. This city bans the use of handheld cell phones while operating a motor vehicle. In 2011, a move was made by two commissioners to allow the use of cell phones while driving consistent with state laws. However, after opposition from the mayor and county police department, the vote was against the repeal of the law.
2009 Legislation for Distracted Driving
House Bill 2132 would ban sending, writing, or reading text messages while operating a motor vehicle. This bill was endorsed by the newspaper, the Topeka Capital-Journal. They were in favor of this bill because it treated adults and minors as equals. The fine associated with this bill for violation would be $60.
House Bill 2143 is teenage driving legislation that placed several restrictions on young drivers including the ban on restricted drivers using cell phones while operating a motor vehicle. This bill marked the first move by Kansas to make any restrictions on cell phone use by drivers. This bill was approved by the Kansas Senate and House and signed into law by Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius in March 2009. This law took effect on January 1, 2010.
2010 Legislation for Distracted Driving
The bills that went before the House and Senate in 2010 ultimately banned texting and emailing while driving a motor vehicle in the state of Kansas.
Senate Bill 351 would ban text messaging for all drivers in the state of Kansas and would impose a $100 fine for any violations. This was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and then approved by the full Senate during February 2011.
House Bill 2441 would ban text messaging and emailing by all drivers, similar to Senate Bill 351.
Senate Bill 300 would ban text messaging while operating a motor vehicle. This bill was originally a vanity license plate measure that was amended to include texting limitations and approved by the Senate and signed into law on May 24, 2010. This texting while driving law took effect on January 1, 2011.
House Bill 2439 would ban text messaging and related activities for Kansas drivers with $100 fine for any violations. This bill was sponsored by the Transportation Committee. During the hearing for this bill, the Highway Patrol and Peace Officers Association spoke in favor of banning text messaging while driving. No one spoke against this bill.
There was no legislation regarding restrictions on cell phone usage in the 2011 sessions. There is one piece of legislation that is under consideration in 2012. Below is an outline of past cell phone legislation along with the 2012 consideration.
2012 Legislation for Distracted Driving
House Bill 2500 would outlaw the use of handheld cell phone devices by school bus drivers. This bill allows for the use of such a device for communications with dispatchers. The fine for violation of this law is $50 for the first offense and $100 for additional offenses.