Negligent Driver Bill Introduced in Kansas Senate

A new bill to increase accountability for drivers who negligently hurt or kill people is being considered by the Kansas Senate, and will have a hearing on Tuesday, January 30th. Please contact your Kansas State Senator to express your support.

BikeWalkKC provided written testimony to the Transportation Committee, and will be testifying in person Tuesday morning.

January 29, 2018
Senator Mike Petersen
Kansas Legislature
300 SW 10th Street
Topeka, KS 66612
Attn: Senate Transportation Committee

Chairman Petersen and Members of the Senate Transportation Committee:

BikeWalkKC supports Senate Bill No. 274, which seeks to strengthen legislation regarding negligent driving. For Kansas to become a better state for cyclists, we need legislation like this to deter motorists from behavior that puts both groups at greater risk of injury.

BikeWalkKC supports this measure for the following reasons:

  • Initially, this will deter motorists from driving while distracted. The bill explicitly prohibits operating a vehicle while engaged in activities that interfere “with the safe control and operation of the vehicle.” The addition of the $45 fine will work to persuade drivers to put their life, instead of their phones, into their own hands.
  • Additionally, we must work to lower the rate of cyclist fatalities statewide. According to a recent report by the League of American Bicyclists, “the rate of bicyclist fatalities per capita and per bike commuter has increased in recent years.” This is in part due to a lack of needed legislation for bicyclist infrastructure and safety, both of which contribute to Kansas currently being ranked one of the least bike-friendly states in the country. This legislation will help us to reverse that sobering trend.
  • Finally, if enacted, this bill will benefit all modes of transportation. The legislation will not only protect bicyclists, but a host of other groups including other motorists, emergency vehicles, buses, and most importantly, pedestrians. In working to protect motorists and cyclists, we’re helping to ensure that regardless of how you move through the Sunflower State, you are doing so in a way that will be safer.

Negligent driving has unfortunately become a more common sight, leading to unnecessary tragedies. Senate Bill No. 274 gives us an opportunity to prevent that behavior by making clear the punishment for being reckless behind the wheel, reversing a statewide trend, and making our roads safer for all.

Please vote “yes” for SB No. 274. Sincerely,

Eric Bunch
Policy Director

Posted in Advocacy, News.