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What does the texting while driving ban in Kansas do?

Distracted driving, in all of its forms, is a horrible behavior and one that leads to more accidents out on the road. But one of distracted driving's forms, texting while driving, is the most insidious of all. When people engage in this behavior, they are actively taking their attention off of the road in front of them and choosing to place it on a cellphone screen so that they can send their friend a smiley face.

Cell phones have absorbed our attention like no other device before, and while there may be no going back, there are at least some basic norms and behaviors we can uphold with cell phones around. Leaving them in our pocket while we are driving a powerful machine on the road with innocent bystanders around is one of these basic norms and behaviors.

Still, there will be people who flaunt these things, and as such, states have responded with texting while driving bans. In Kansas, the law has three purposes. The first is to ban novice drivers -- those with learner's permits or intermediate licenses -- from using their cell phone in any way when they are behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.

The second is to ban all drivers from texting while driving. This is a primary law, which means a police officer can pull someone over for texting while driving, as opposed to a secondary law, which would require some other offense (a primary one) to take place first in order for a police officer to enforce the secondary law.

The third is to ban bus drivers from texting while driving. This part of the law entails hefty fines that can be placed on the bus driver, who could be at risk of losing his or her job as a result of such an infraction.

Source: DMV, "Kansas Distracted Driving Laws," Accessed June 7, 2017

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