Kansas group seeks to curb inattentive driving

| Thursday, September 21, 2006

Concern about inattentive driving in Kansas has led a statewide task force to look into ways to curb the problem.

In Kansas and across the nation, inattentive driving is the leading cause of vehicle crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

However, the state has no law against inattentive driving. That could change later this year if the task force – known as the Driving Force – recommends a law intended to reduce traffic injuries and fatalities.

From 2001 to 2005, nearly 146,000 Kansas drivers were in collisions that either the driver or police attributed to inattention, The Wichita Eagle reported. Among the activities listed were using a cell phone, eating fries or rubber-necking at a wreck.

The figures show an average of 80 inattentive driving crashes each day. About 30 percent of those crashes were caused by drivers under age 21.

During the past five years, the number of accidents has declined each year. Made up of traffic experts, lawmakers and other leaders, the task force is looking for ways to push the numbers even lower, The Eagle reported.

In addition to a potential law to make inattentive driving a traffic infraction, the group may also call for more restrictions on young drivers, and more educational programs.

Despite the fact the state doesn’t have a law against attentive driving, police can ticket drivers for weaving, following too closely or failing to signal, all of which are often signs of inattentive driving.

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