Drink — but don’t drive.
Text — but don’t drive.
Drivers who have been drinking create a traffic hazard.
The latest traffic hazard is distracted driving with drivers seemingly paying more attention to their smartphones than their driving.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports texting while driving creates a crash risk 23 times greater than driving while not distracted.
Bluetooth systems have made talking while driving much safer.
Manhattan, Kansas has banned cell phone usage while driving in the city. Manhattan’s ordinance prohibits drivers from talking or listening on a cellphone while driving, unless the cellphone is configured for hands-free use.
But the hazard of texting while driving still exists.
Texting while driving is simply against the law in Kansas.
The Kansas law states on a wireless device, drivers may not manually type, send, or read a written communication, including, but not limited to, a text message, instant message, or electronic mail.
The Kansas Highway Patrol and local law enforcement enforce the texting law throughout the year.
But during the July 4 holiday period, the patrol will place a special emphasis on finding drivers texting while driving.
Kansas Highway patrolmen will conduct a texting enforcement initiative through July 10. Troopers will be searching for drivers who are violating Kansas’ texting law. They will write tickets for those observed in violation.
In 2012, the NHTSA estimates 421,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver, a nine percent increase from 2011.
The patrol is always alert for impaired drivers. With many holiday celebrations planned this weekend, drivers should make sure they are designating a sober driver.
The patrol reminds motorists to wear their seatbelts and correctly fitted child safety seats. That is the best protection if you are involved in an accident.