Several new laws go into effect this week, and two laws that were effective last July with a one-year warning period become enforceable with a citation. The Patrol would like to remind motorists of these changes, and encourage them to follow these important traffic laws.
Kansas Seatbelt Law
Kansas’ new Primary Seatbelt law has been effective since June 10, 2010, and beginning June 30, drivers and passengers can be cited for violation of the law. This law changes Kansas’ seatbelt requirements from a secondary violation to a primary violation, making it possible for law enforcement officers to conduct a traffic stop if the driver or front seat passenger is not wearing their seatbelt. A requirement has also been added requiring adult passengers in the rear seats of a vehicle to wear their seatbelts. Effective June 30, citations can be issued for violation of this law, with a $5 citation being issued for the first year, and a $10 citation being issued on and after June 30, 2011. There are no court costs associated with this violation. The Safety Belt laws for those under the age of 18, and the Child Restraint Law have not changed.
A Texting Ban is another new piece of legislation in Kansas. The texting ban prohibits a driver from using a wireless device to write, send, or read a written communication while operating a motor vehicle on a public road or highway. This includes text messages, instant messages, and e-mails. Exemptions to this exist in the following instances: Law enforcement officers or emergency services personnel using the device as part of their scope and duties of such employment. A vehicle stopped off of the regularly travelled portion of the roadway. As required to read, select, or enter a number or name to place a phone call. Read emergency, traffic, or weather alerts. Receiving a message related to the operation or navigation of the vehicle. Reporting current or ongoing illegal activity to law enforcement. Preventing imminent injury to a person or property. Information between for-hire operators and their dispatcher using a device permanently affixed to the vehicle.
The ban is effective July 1, 2010. Warnings will be issued for violation of this law through December 31, 2010. Citations can be issued beginning January 1, 2011.
License Plate Law
License Plate Visibility is addressed by a new law which is effective July 1, 2010. This law prohibits a license plate from being covered in whole, or in part, by any clear or opaque material, or any other plastic-like material that affects the plate’s visibility or reflectivity. Starting July 1, 2010, a citation can be issued for violation of this law.
Two laws that were effective last July, become enforceable by citation effective July 1, 2010. The “Move It Law” mandates that drivers involved in non-injury crashes on interstate, U.S. highways, or any divided or multi-lane roadways in the state, as long as the vehicles are not transporting hazardous materials, move vehicles out of the lane of traffic if it is safe to do so. This law is intended to keep drivers and passengers safe by getting them out of the lane of traffic and away from oncoming vehicles. If vehicles can be driven, they should be moved to a safer location such as a shoulder or the nearest exit to exchange information or to contact law enforcement. Law enforcement should always be called if: there are injuries; a vehicle cannot be moved; one of the drivers appears to be intoxicated; damage exceeds $1,000; one of the drivers has no insurance; or one of the drivers leaves the scene of the crash.
Right Lane Law
The warning period for the “Right Lane Law” also expires after June 30, 2010. The Right Lane Law prohibits vehicles on highways outside the corporate limits of any city, divided into two or more lanes of traffic proceeding in the same direction, from being operated in the far left lane, except when: overtaking and passing another vehicle; preparing to make a proper left turn; otherwise directed by traffic-control devices; or otherwise required by other provisions of law (e.g. Stopped emergency or maintenance vehicles.).
Traffic Fine Increase
The Patrol would also like to remind motorists that traffic fines increase by $15.00 effective July 1, 2010. As an example, a speeding fine for 80 mph in a 70 mph zone would be a $45 fine, with $93.50 in court costs, for a total fine of $138.50.