Highway patrol aims to crack down on offenders


By Phil Anderson
May 31, 2009 - 11:47pm
Summer travel season is here, and troopers with the Kansas Highway Patrol are watching motorists in an effort to keep the state’s roads safe.
Among areas of emphasis will be speeding in highway construction zones, a particularly sensitive areas for troopers after deaths in recent years of Kansas Department of Transportation workers.
“Fines are double in construction zones — that’s the bottom line,” said Lt. Robert Baker, of the Kansas Highway Patrol. “They become very large. If you are speeding in a construction zone or passing in a construction zone, expect a ticket.”
Troopers also will be on the lookout for motorists or passengers who violate the state’s seat belt laws.
The driver and all other passengers in a front seat of a vehicle are required to wear a seat belt, regardless of their age.
Kansas law allows for “secondary” tickets to be given to seat belt violators if a vehicle his stopped for another traffic offense.
However, seat belt, booster seat and child safety restraint violations are a primary offense for those 18 and younger, meaning an officer can pull a car over if he sees a violation.
The “Click It or Ticket” program, which ran May 18 through Sunday, was an endeavor to boost seat-belt usage across the state.
Col. Terry Maple, of the Kansas Highway Patrol, said seat belt usage in the state has increased to 77 percent in recent years but still is behind the national average of 83 percent.
Maple said more than 60 percent of people killed on Kansas roadways in 2007 weren’t wearing their seat belts, the main reason for the campaign. Troopers also will be enforcing headlight usage, which is required for motorists between dusk and dawn.
Headlights are required to be turned on at sunset, even if there is residual sunlight, and are to be in use until after sunrise.
The highway patrol says head lamp usage shortly after dusk and shortly before dawn is a way for motorists to be seen by the drivers of other vehicles, and as such are a traffic safety feature.
Headlights also are required to be in use at all times when windshield wipers are turned on.
The patrol said motorists are required to use turn signals at all times when changing lanes or turning onto other roads.
Additionally, starting July 1, motorists traveling in the left lane of interstate highways who aren’t passing another car will be issued a warning.
Beginning July 1, 2010, left-lane drivers will be issued citations.
Phil Anderson can be reached at (785) 295-1195 or phil.anderson@cjonline.com.