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Distracted Driving Laws in Kansas

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Every person who operates a motor vehicle must remain focused on the road at all times. A distraction such as sending or reading a text message or even reaching for something in the back seat can cause an accident in an instant. An automobile crash can happen in a split second—the moment the driver takes their eyes off the road.

Distracted driving is responsible for millions of car accidents annually. According to the Kansas Traffic Safety Resource Office, an estimated one in four crashes in the state of Kansas are the result of distracted driving.

The experienced and award-winning personal injury attorney at Grover Law Firm, LLC, is dedicated to helping those who were injured or lost their loved ones in collisions caused by distracted drivers. With offices in Kansas City, Missouri, and Overland Park, Kansas, attorney Mark Grover proudly serves clients throughout the two states.

What is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving is any kind of activity that involves taking the eyes off the road, taking the hands off the wheel, or having one’s mind out of focus while driving. Although texting while driving or talking on the phone are some of the most common forms of distracted driving that cause preventable accidents on Kansas and Missouri roads, there are numerous other behaviors that contribute to distractions behind the wheel.

Some of the most common behaviors that may constitute distracted driving include:

  • Talking on the phone

  • Reading or sending a text message or email

  • Applying makeup or combing one’s hair

  • Smoking

  • Staring in the rear-view mirror for too long

  • Using GPS navigation

  • Selecting a song on an electronic device

  • Reaching for something in the back seat or a glove compartment

  • Actively engaging in a conversation with a passenger

  • Driving with a crying infant or unruly child in the vehicle

Distractions behind the wheel can be classified into three types:

  1. Manual. The motorist does something that requires them to take their hands off the wheel (e.g., holding a cellphone to send a text message).

  2. Visual. The motorist takes their eyes off the road (e.g., to check a GPS navigation system).

  3. Cognitive. The motorist diverts their attention to another mentally-demanding task (e.g., talking to passengers or daydreaming).

Every type of distraction can increase the risk of a preventable accident. In fact, some behaviors involve more than one distraction. For example, texting while driving may result in all three forms of distraction.  

According to a survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, almost all drivers (96%) agree that texting while driving is very dangerous. However, the same study reveals that a staggering 39% admit to reading a text message while operating a motor vehicle in the past month.

In many accidents, proving that the other driver was distracted can be a daunting task, which is why a victim may need to hire a skilled attorney to help them gather evidence to prove their case and obtain fair compensation.

Kansas Distracted Driving Laws

The vast majority of motorists in the state of Kansas do not have any restrictions on talking on the phone while operating a motor vehicle. However, underage motorists driving with an instruction permit are prohibited from using a wireless device to talk, text, or for any other purpose. The only exception is if the underage driver needs to use a device to call 911 or report a crime.

Kansas distracted driving laws also make it illegal for all drivers to use cellphones and other wireless communication devices to write, read, and send text messages and emails while driving. However, there are a number of exceptions to the ban. The restriction does not apply to:

  • Motorists stopped by the side of the road in a vehicle that is not moving

  • Emergency services and law enforcement personnel performing their duties

  • Motorists who use voice-operated technologies

  • Motorists who need to report a crime to law enforcement

  • Motorists who receive a message regarding the operation/navigation of the vehicle or emergency/traffic/weather alert messages

  • Motorists who must use a device in order to prevent imminent injury to themselves, another person, or property

  • Motorists who need to enter or select a number to make or receive a call

In Kansas, texting while driving carries a $60 fine in addition to accompanying court costs and fees. Missouri is one of only two states in the country that do not make texting while driving illegal for all motorists. Currently, Missouri law makes texting while driving illegal only for drivers aged 21 and under. Drivers of commercial vehicles are also prohibited from using handheld communication devices.

Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney

If you suffered injuries in an automobile crash caused by a distracted driver, it’s important to speak with an attorney in Overland Park, Kansas, to discuss the specifics of your case. The car accident attorney at Grover Law Firm, LLC, can assist you with your case, seeking to prove that the other driver was distracted, and help you fight for fair compensation. Reach out today to schedule a case evaluation.