Kansas’s Cellphone-Use & Texting-While-Driving Laws

Read about Kansas’s distracted driving laws and the costs of a violation.

Kansas’s distracted driving laws prohibit text messaging for all drivers and talking on a cellphone for only certain drivers. This article discusses the specifics of what the laws prohibit and the costs and other consequences of a texting or cellphone ticket.

Texting and Cellphone Restrictions for Underage Drivers

For most Kansas motorists, there are no restrictions on talking on a cellphone while driving.

However, for motorists who are driving with an instruction permit (drivers 14 to 17 years of age) it’s illegal to use a wireless communication device for any purpose. In other words, for these underage drivers, there’s no texting or talking on a phone while operating a vehicle.

Exceptions. The underage cellphone ban doesn’t apply to wireless device use to report illegal activity or summon medical or other emergency services.

Fines and suspensions for violations. Instruction permit texting and cellphone violations are misdemeanors. For a first violation, the offender is looking at a 30-day license suspension and up to $250 in fines. A second violation carries a 90-day license suspension and a maximum $500 fine.

Texting Messaging

For all Kansas drivers, it’s illegal to use a wireless communication device (including cellphones, tablets, and personal digital assistants) to read, write, or send a text message while operating a motor vehicle. This restriction applies to all written communications, including regular text messages, emails, and instant messages.

Exceptions. The texting-while-driving law contains a number of exceptions. The texting ban doesn’t apply to:

  • law enforcement and emergency services personnel acting within the scope of their employment
  • motorists who are stopped off the regularly traveled portion of the roadway
  • a person who reads, selects, or enters a number for the purpose of making or receiving a call
  • receipt of emergency, traffic, or weather alert messages
  • receipt of a message related to operation or navigation of the vehicle
  • reporting current or ongoing illegal activity to law enforcement
  • device use for the purpose of preventing imminent injury to a person or property
  • relaying information between a transit or for-hire operator and a dispatcher (provided the device is permanently affixed to the vehicle), or
  • voice-operated technologies that don’t require the use of hands except to activate or deactivate the device.

Fines. Generally, a texting violation carries a $60 fine. However, court costs can increase the amount the driver actually has to pay.

Other Possible Charges

Depending on the circumstances, a texting or cellphone violation could also lead to a reckless driving conviction. And if one of these violations results in the death of another person, vehicular homicide charges are a possibility.

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