State officials discourage texting while driving as Legislature considers bill making it illegal
TOPEKA — Erica Bell, a sophomore at Topeka’s Seaman High School, knows the cost of texting while driving.
While reading a text on her way to work, she collided with a bridge wall and totaled her 2004 fully-loaded Malibu. She wasn’t hurt, but adds, “Now I have a really not nice car.”
Bell and state leaders held a news conference urging passage of legislation that would make texting while driving a traffic infraction and assess fines.
Several bills on the matter are pending as the Legislature returns for the wrap-up session on Wednesday. One would fine violators $100 while another would assess a $60 fine.
Lt. Gov. Troy Findley, state Sen. Tim Owens, R-Overland Park, and state Rep. Gary Hayzlett, R-Lakin, said they hoped to have a bill ready for Gov. Mark Parkinson to sign into law before the end of the 2010 legislative session.
Bell said she doesn’t use her cell phone anymore while driving and also holds her friends’ phones when she is a passenger so that they won’t text and drive.