This week, several new traffic laws become enforceable by citation. The Kansas Highway Patrol reminds motorists of the changes and encourages them to drive safely.
The new primary seatbelt law has been in effect since June 10. This law changes Kansas’ seatbelt requirements from a secondary to a primary violation, enabling officers to stop a vehicle if the driver or front seat passenger is not wearing a seatbelt. Adult passengers in the backseat are also required to wear seatbelts. Beginning June 30, drivers and passengers can be cited for a violation of the law when stopped for this reason. The safety belt laws for those under the age of 18 and the child restraint laws have not changed.
Another new piece of Kansas legislation is the texting ban, prohibiting drivers from using wireless devices to write, send, or read written communications while operating a vehicle. This includes text messages, instant messages and emails. Exemptions exist for specific instances. The ban comes into effect on July 1, and warnings will be issued to violators through December 31. Citations will be issued beginning January 1, 2011.
License plate visibility will be addressed by a new law effective July 1. Citations can be issued in the case of a license plate being covered in whole or in part by any clear or opaque material that affects the plate’s visibility or reflectivity.
Two laws that became effective last year are now enforceable by citation. 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, move vehicles out of the lane of traffic as long as it is safe to do so. This intends that drivers and passengers involved in the accident remain safe by getting out of the path of oncoming vehicles, and move to a safer location to exchange information and contact law enforcement if necessary.
Another enforceable law is the right lane law, which prohibits vehicles on highways outside of 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. Exceptions include passing, preparing to make a proper left turn, or being otherwise directed by traffic-control devices or other provisions of law.
The Patrol also reminds motorists that traffic fines increase by $15 beginning July 1. For 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.