Monday, December 27, 2010
Nearly half a million people are injured every year in crashes blamed on distracted drivers.
Kansas is doing its best to lower those numbers, putting the hammer down on people who text while driving.
It is one of many distractions getting in the way of safe travels for drivers.
As of the new year, Kansas drivers who text while behind-the-wheel will be ticketed.
"That's either reading a text, typing a text, or anything of that nature, other than dialing the telephone," said Lt. Roger Baughman,
Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper.
Studies show drivers who are texting are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash.
"Your eyes have to look at it in most instances to type that message, and once you take your eyes off the roadway, things can happen in minute seconds that will cause you to be in a wreck," said Lt. Baughman.
The new change allows officers to issue a ticket when they observe a driver texting while driving, stopped at a red light, or stopped at a stop sign.
"If we can't really tell you're doing the texting part, but you're doing the weaving and stuff, then, we can enforce maintaining to stay in a lane, or whatever the violation is," said Lt. Baughman.
The violation will cost you a text message, and a fine.
In Sedgwick County, the fine for texting while driving is $60, plus $95.50 for court costs. Even if you have an unlimited plan, texting while driving could cost you $155.50.
Thirty states have banned texting while driving.