Police and highway patrol on the Kansas side of metro Kansas City are finding it hard to enforce laws against texting while driving. Loopholes allow it to go on, relatively unchecked as numbers bear out.
Kansas law is pretty clear, stating you can’t drive on road or highway “while using a wireless communications device to write, send or read a written communication.”
Yet, the Johnson County Sheriff's office only issued 17 tickets for testing while driving in 2012. Overland Park Police wrote 45 tickets for the offense in 2011 and 40 in 2012.
Statistics are not in for 2013, but there were only nine tickets written between January and April.
Trooper Howard Dickinson said certain loophole exceptions keep texting drivers safe from ticketing and many who are caught claim the exceptions for lack of guilt. Exceptions include dialing a phone number and checking emergency weather.
“Those seem to be the only reasons these people are on the telephone. And it’s very difficult to prove that, quite often,” said Dickinson.
Dickinson said Kansas law agencies are trying to strategize a more effective way of keeping drivers from texting.
A study by Cohen Childrens’ Medical Center found a texting driver is 23 times more likely to crash.