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Mobile Device Use in Manhattan
What you need to know
On Oct. 12, 2010, the City Commission approved Ordinance No. 6853 amending the provisions of the 2013 Standard Traffic Ordinance for Kansas cities relating to the use of seat belts and wireless communication devices. The ordinance maintains the provision that prohibits drivers from talking/listening on a cellphone while driving effective July 1, 2010, unless the cellphone is configured for hands-free use. See Section 13, Article 14, Section 126.3 of Ordinance No. 6853, regarding Listening or Talking on Wireless Communication Devices While Driving and Section 126.2 of the State of Kansas 2010 Standard Traffic Ordinance regarding Written Communication While Driving Prohibited for more detail.

The new law adopted by the Legislature prohibits any person operating a motor vehicle on a public road or highway to write, send or read a written communication on a wireless communication device. A “wireless electronic communication device” is a device that provides voice or data communication between two or more parties. It includes cellphones, text messaging devices, PDAs and laptops. It does not include any device that is voice-operated and that allows the user to send or receive a text based communication without the use of either hand, except to activate or deactivate a feature or function. 

The state’s law includes the following exemptions for text messages that have been amended into the local ordinance:
  • Law enforcement and emergency personnel acting within their employment
  • A vehicle stopped outside the regularly traveled roadway    
  • Dialing a number for the purpose of making a call
  • Receiving emergency, traffic or weather alert messages
  • Receiving a message related to the navigation of the vehicle
The ordinance changes will also allow drivers to send text messages to stop illegal activity to law enforcement, prevent imminent injury to persons or property, or relay information between transit or for-hire operators and dispatchers, if the device is permanently affixed to the vehicle. Law enforcement officers may only issue warnings for the text messaging and hands-free portions of the ordinance through Jan. 1, 2011.

Learn more about distracted driving from the U.S. Department of Transportation.