Have you ever traveled on a major roadway in Kansas and seen another driver looking at a cellphone? Perhaps you witnessed a close call with a distracted driver. If you suspect that distracted driving is becoming more prevalent in Kansas, you may be right.
A recent study conducted by financial website MoneyGeek identified a trend of distracted driving in states with "wide-open spaces," as opposed to states with dense infrastructure. Kansas ranked the second-deadliest state in the nation for distracted driving — just behind New Mexico. The study compiled federal crash data from 2017-2018 — during which 6,083 deaths occurred due to distracted driving.
Kansas had an average of 3.1 traffic fatalities per billion miles driven (201 deaths). That's 241 percent greater than the national average of 0.94. There was a slight decline in distracted-driving deaths from 2017-2018, however.
Are Kansas's laws tough enough?
Several states have already passed laws banning all cellphone uses while driving. Kansas, however, doesn't have these laws in place. The law only prohibits typing, reading, and sending text messages while driving. The statewide texting ban (K.S.A. 8- 15,111) doesn't apply to law enforcement or emergency responders or during emergency situations.
The current law does, however, prohibit all cellphone uses for drivers ages 14-17. That means adult drivers can talk, browse the internet and use apps behind the wheel. There are no current rules banning drivers from holding or handling cellphones.
What counts as distracted driving?
Distracted driving includes any action that takes motorists' attention off the task of driving. It has become a growing problem on Kansas roads with the advent of handheld technology. Distracted driving, however, doesn't always involve cellphones. Here are some other examples:
- Using a built-in infotainment system
- Programming GPS navigation
- Tuning a radio
- Eating and drinking
People who drive distracted never expect to cause a collision. Many of them have been doing it for years and are confident in their ability to multitask. A crash can occur in the blink of an eye, however. Someone's life is either devastated or lost as a result. Distracted driving claims more than 3,000 lives across the United States each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
That's why the attorneys at Bretz & Young have dedicated themselves to fighting on behalf of injured motorists across the state of Kansas. If you or a loved one was hurt in a crash with a distracted driver, you can trust our experienced legal team to help you seek justice. To find out how, contact us online and schedule your free consultation.