Select a category below for more information. Additional information about Kansas statutes pertaining to traffic safety is available on the Kansas Legislature's Web site.
The Kansas Highway Patrol offers the following tips for drivers when they encounter an emergency vehicle or are stopped for a traffic infraction.
- Do not panic. Use your turn signal, and pull over to the right as far as possible, allowing other traffic to pass and an officer to safely walk to your vehicle.
- If you are being pulled over, stop and turn off the ignition. If it is dark, turn on the interior light.
- Keep your hands in plain view, and do not make any sudden movements. The officer does not know you or your intentions. Reaching for your insurance information in the glove box may look like you are reaching for something else.
- Ask any passengers in your vehicle to remain calm and comply with the officer's instructions. Instruct them to keep their hands in plain view and not make any sudden movements.
- Wait for the officer to park the patrol car and approach. He or she may ask for your driver's license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance. If you do not understand why you have been stopped, politely ask the officer.
- If it is dark, the officer is likely to use a bright spotlight or flashlight to illuminate you and your vehicle.
- Stay in your vehicle unless the officer asks you to get out. Most of the time, the entire exchange will occur without you having to leave your vehicle. However, court rulings permit the officer to decide whether you should step out of the vehicle. If you are asked to exit the vehicle, keep your hands in plain view and watch for traffic.
- If you receive a traffic citation, a polite and cooperative attitude will make the event easier for everyone. Feel free to ask any questions, but a courtroom is the place to debate the issue, not the side of the road.
- Once the traffic stop is finished, cautiously merge into the flow of traffic.
- If you have concerns about the stop, feel free to contact the Patrol for more information about how traffic stops are conducted.
Transporting open containers of alcoholic beverages where they are accessible to the driver or passengers is a misdemeanor violation of state law. Penalties include a fine of no more than $200 or imprisonment of no more than six months. A second or subsequent violation may result in the loss of driving privileges for one year.
All containers of alcoholic beverages in Kansas must bear a state tax stamp. Interstate transportation of alcoholic beverages and transportation of alcohol off federal reservations are prohibited. All beer kegs must bear a state registration tag that identifies the purchaser.
Driving Under the Influence
It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood or breath alcohol and/or drug concentration (BAC) of .08 or more, or if the influence or drugs and/or alcohol render the driver incapable of safely driving a motor vehicle.
If you are charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs (DUI), under Kansas law you could:
- Be arrested and booked into jail.
- Have your vehicle towed.
- Lose your driver's license.
- Face criminal charges.
- Be required to complete a screening assessment for placement in an intervention program at your expense.
- Incur numerous personal and financial losses.
DUI offenders face criminal and administrative penalties. See the charts above for the penalties, as described in Kansas statutes.
FACT: The loss of lives to impaired driving is preventable. There are alternatives to impaired driving.
- Designate a sober driver.
- Take a taxi or call a safe ride program.
- Arrange to spend the night where you are.
FACT: Impaired driving is a chronic problem that will affect one in three Americans in their lifetime. Nearly 42,000 people die in motor vehicle crashes each year, and about 16,000 of these are alcohol-related. Every day of the year, alcohol-related crashes account for one death every 33 minutes and one person injured every 2 minutes.
FACT: Kansas has zero tolerance for drivers under 21 years old who choose to drink and get behind the wheel. Drivers under 21 who are found to have a BAC of .02 or greater face a 30-day suspension of driving privileges followed by a 330-day period of using a required Interlock device on the vehicle. Also, any person under 21 convicted of consuming or possessing alcoholic beverages will have his/her driver's license suspended for 30 days under Kansas law.
Kansas law requires drivers to follow other vehicles at a reasonable and prudent distance, taking into consideration the speed of the vehicles and condition of the roadway.
Four of every 10 crashes involve rear-end collisions, usually because someone is following too closely (tailgating). Leave enough room between your vehicle and the one ahead so you can stop safely if the other vehicle stops suddenly.
Brake early and gently when preparing to stop or turn. It gives drivers behind you plenty of warning that you are slowing down. Be aware of space on either side of you, too, in case you have to change lanes quickly or pull over to avoid a hazard. If possible, leave yourself some escape room to your left and right.
For a safe traveling distance, use the two-second rule.
Choose an object near or above the road ahead, such as a sign, tree, or overpass. As the vehicle ahead passes it, slowly count aloud, "one thousand one, one thousand two." If you reach the same object before you finish counting, you are following too closely. Slow down and let the other vehicle get farther ahead. In bad weather, increase the count to three or four seconds for extra space.
If the driver behind you is tailgating, move to another lane if possible, or if necessary, slow down and pull off the road to let the driver go by you. Be sure to signal when you drive off the road and when you return to it. Do not press your brakes to warn the offending driver, this could make a difficult situation become more dangerous.
FACT: Your chance of death or serious injury in a crash doubles for every 10 mph over 50 mph your vehicle travels.
Speed Limits and Restrictions
- 75 mph maximum on rural segments of freeway with a 40 mph minimum
- 75 mph on the Kansas Turnpike, unless otherwise posted, with a 40 mph minimum
- 70 mph on some improved highways in rural areas
- 65 mph on improved two-lane highways
- 55 mph on two-lane paved highways, unless otherwise posted
- 30 mph in residential areas, unless otherwise posted
- 20 mph in business districts, unless otherwise posted
- All speed limits are enforced as posted.
Frequently Asked Speeding Questions
Q: How fast is too fast?
A: Kansas speed regulations start with the basic rule that the speed of a vehicle has to be reasonable and prudent for existing conditions. Even when the posted speed limit is 70 mph, it may be safe to go 45 mph due to heavy rain, snow, ice, or blowing dust.
Q: How do Troopers measure how fast vehicles are going?
A: The Kansas Highway Patrol uses three methods of measuring the speed of vehicles traveling on our highways.
Radar: The most commonly used method of measuring the speed of other vehicles is Doppler Traffic Radar (Radio Detection And Ranging). Radar units used by the Patrol are capable of tracking the speed of vehicles while the patrol unit is in motion or stationary along the roadway. In addition, the radar unit is capable of measuring the speed of cars, trucks, and motorcycles traveling the same direction as the patrol car and those traveling in the opposite direction.
Time/Distance: Using stopwatches and VASCAR devices, members of the Patrol measure the time it takes a vehicle to travel a known distance (such as a marked 1/8-mile speed enforcement lane). Patrol aircraft also use this method to assist ground units in stopping speeding and aggressive drivers.
LIDAR: The newest device used by the Patrol to measure the speed of vehicles is Light Detection And Ranging (LIDAR).
LIDAR units give Troopers the ability to pick individual violators out of traffic by directing an infrared, eye-safe, laser beam onto the individual vehicle. LIDAR units are especially useful in areas with congested traffic and in highway construction zones.
All speed-measuring devices used by the Patrol are certified by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, and the manufacturer. Patrol personnel regularly check the devices to ensure they function properly.
Q: I have heard that I can drive 5 or 10 mph over the posted speed limit without being ticketed. Is this true?
A: It is a violation of Kansas law to speed as little as 1 mph over the posted speed limit. The law states speed violations of 10 or less miles per hour over the speed limit in 55 to 75 mph zones will not count as moving violations for purposes of driving records.
Q: Can I get a speeding ticket if I drive with the flow of traffic?
A: Speed limits are set for the safety of all motorists and others along the roadway. There is no "flow of traffic" exception in Kansas law, and you risk being cited for speeding if you choose to exceed the posted limit.
Q: How fast can I go when I am passing another vehicle?
A: The speed limit is exactly that: a limit. You cannot legally exceed the posted speed limit to pass another vehicle.
Q: Can I have a radar detector in Kansas?
A: Yes. Radar detectors are legal, except in commercial vehicles with gross vehicle weight ratings of 10,000 pounds or more.
Q: I was stopped for speeding, but my radar detector never went off. Why?
A: There are many reasons why your radar detector may not have detected the radar. One simple reason is that your device is not set up to detect the specific band or type of device the officer was using. For example, a radar detector will not tell you if the officer is using a stopwatch or LIDAR to check you speed. Another possible explanation is that modern traffic radars only need to radiate a signal for an extremely short period of time to check your speed, and your radar detector may not have picked this up.
Speed Safety Facts
Speeding reduces the driver's ability to steer safely around curves and avoid objects on the road.
Speeding increases the distance necessary to stop a vehicle. In fact, just a small increase in speed greatly increases the amount of room you need to stop. For example, at 70 mph a vehicle in proper working order takes 351 feet to stop, while at 55 mph a vehicle can stop in 217 feet.
Speeding increases the distance your vehicle will travel before you can comprehend there is an emergency and react to it. Each mile per hour you travel equates to 1.467 feet traveled per second. Therefore, a vehicle going 55 mph will travel 80.685 feet each second.
Here is a simple way to figure how many feet per second your car is going. By simply adding half of the miles per hour you are going to your speed you will get your approximate speed in feet per second (within two percent). Next time you are driving, think of your speed in feet per second (at 60 mph you are covering approximately 90 feet per second). Now, consider how fast you can react.
Then, consider your car's kinetic energy. Kinetic energy, the moving force possessed by your vehicle, can be simply explained as the amount of force, or kick, your vehicle would have if it hit another object. For example, a small car (weighing about 1 ton) moving at a speed of 40 mph strikes with the same force as 18, ten-ton steam rollers traveling at 3 mph!
Now imagine you are driving a standard car at 60 mph (approximately 90 feet per second). Your kinetic energy now is more than that of 100 ten-ton steamrollers moving at 3 mph! Now you understand why SPEED KILLS!
Think speeding will get you there faster? Consider this.
The Minnesota Safety Council, in an experiment, had two drivers travel over the same 1,000-mile route in similar vehicles. The fast driver passed 2,000 cars, braked 1,339 times, and covered the distance in 20 hours, 12 minutes. The slow driver flowed with traffic, passed only 13 cars, and braked 652 times. It took him 20 hours, 43 minutes, just 31 minutes longer than the fast driver. The faster car used 10 gallons more gas, and the driver's pulse rate rose because of the tension and the risks he had taken. Is traveling faster really worth it?
The fines for traffic infractions are set uniformly by the Kansas Legislature.
All traffic fines collected by district (county) courts are remitted to the state treasury, and are distributed in the following manner:
- 10.949% to the crime victims compensation fund;
- 2.24% to the crime victims assistance fund;
- 2.75% to the community alcoholism and intoxication programs fund;
- 7.65% to the department of corrections alcohol and drug abuse treatment fund;
- 0.16% to the boating fee fund;
- 0.11% to the children's advocacy center fund;
- 2.28% to the EMS revolving fund;
- 2.28% to the trauma fund;
- 2.28% to the traffic records enhancement fund;
- 2.91% to the Criminal Information Justice System
- The remainder to the state general fund.
No money collected from traffic fines directly finances the operation of the Kansas Highway Patrol.
Drivers issued notices to appear are required to appear in the district court of the county where the violation occurred or pay the uniform state fine and court costs prior to the court date. Fines for traffic infractions are set by state law and are uniform in all 105 Kansas counties. State law doubles fines for violations occurring in highway construction zones, regardless of whether workers are present.
In addition to traffic fines, the driver is responsible for paying state-mandated court costs, which are set uniformly by the Kansas Legislature.