Friday, July 30, 2010

Seat Belt, Texting While Driving and Motorcycle Equipment Laws

On July 21, 2010, Ordinance No. TC-1260,QQQ was published and took effect in Overland Park. This ordinance adopts changes in traffic laws authorized by the 2010 Kansas legislature.

The seat belt law now allows police officers to stop vehicles if front seat occupants are not wearing a seat belt.

The texting law prohibits the writing, sending or reading of electronic communications while driving. There are several exceptions to the ordinance, including communications where a motor vehicle is stopped off the regular traveled portion of the roadway; reading; selecting or entering a telephone number or name into a cell phone; the receiving of emergency, traffic or weather alert messages; receiving messages related to the operation or navigation of the motor vehicle; reporting current or ongoing illegal activity to law enforcement; and communications to prevent imminent injury to a person or property. The law does not prohibit talking on a cell phone while driving, but such activity may violate the inattentive driving ordinance. Police officers may issue warning citations for violation of this ordinance until January 1, 2011.

Additional parts of this ordinance allow police to cite persons who allow or permit operation of a motorcycle or motorized bicycle by someone under the age of 18 without a helmet and eye protection.

Finally another provision prohibits the use of license plate covers that affect the plate’s visibility or reflectivity.