Noteworthy Road Laws
Kansas laws are amended each year during the Legislative Session, and often the changes pertain to traffic safety. Below are many of the changes that will affect the motoring public. For more information on Kansas statutes and bills, visit the Kansas Legislature's Web site.
The most notable change is the increase in speed limit on some multi-lane highways in Kansas. An increase of five miles per hour was approved, increasing the maximum speed limit in Kansas to 75 miles per hour. For a list of the 75 mile per hour zones, go to KDOT's website at: www.ksdot.org/PDF_Files/Kansas-routes-designated-for-75-mph-speed-limit.pdf.
The new "Dead Red" law allows the driver of a motorcycle or the rider of a bicycle to proceed through a steady red signal, subject to other traffic rules governing right of way, if the red light has failed to change to green within a reasonable period of time because the signal has malfunctioned or has failed to detect the vehicle. The driver or rider must yield the right of way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching so as to constitute an immediate hazard, to any pedestrian lawfully within an adjacent crosswalk, and to any other traffic lawfully using the intersection.
The Kansas Highway Patrol VIN inspection program will benefit due to a new law passed by the legislature this spring. K.S.A. 8-116a amended the inspection fee for VIN inspections. Since the program's inception in 1984, fees had remained untouched at $10 per vehicle. Beginning on July 1, 2011, fees will raise to $15 per vehicle. Next year, effective July 1, 2012, fees rise to $20.
This law changes Kansas' seatbelt requirements from a secondary violation to a primary violation, making it possible for law enforcement officers to conduct a traffic stop if the driver or front seat passenger is not wearing their seatbelt. Adult passengers in the rear seats of a vehicle are now required to wear their seatbelts. Effective June 30,2010 citations can be issued for violation of this law, with a $5 citation being issued for the first year, and a $10 citation being issued on and after June 30, 2011. There are no court costs associated with this violation. The Safety Belt laws for those under the age of 18, and the Child Restraint Law have not changed.
Drivers are prohibited from using a wireless device to write, send, or read a written communication while operating a motor vehicle on a public road or highway. This includes text messages, instant messages, and e-mails. Exemptions to this exist in the following instances:
- Law enforcement officers or emergency services personnel using the device as part of their scope and duties of such employment.
- A vehicle stopped off of the regularly travelled portion of the roadway.
- As required to read, select, or enter a number or name to place a phone call.
- Read emergency, traffic, or weather alerts.
- Receiving a message related to the operation or navigation of the vehicle.
- Reporting current or ongoing illegal activity to law enforcement.
- Preventing imminent injury to a person or property.
- Information between for-hire operators and their dispatcher using a device permanently affixed to the vehicle.
The ban is effective July 1, 2010.
Effective July 1, 2010. Kansas law prohibits a license plate from being covered in whole, or in part, by any clear or opaque material, or any other plastic-like material that affects the plate's visibility or reflectivity. Starting July 1, 2010, a citation can be issued for violation of this law.