MISSION, Kan. - Texting and driving is already illegal in Kansas, but one city wants to take it a step further. Most phones could soon be off limits to people driving through Mission.
Wednesday night at 6:30, the city's finance and administration committee will hear the proposed ordinance from police chief John Simmons. If approved by the committee twice, the city council will vote on September 19.
Simmons said the ordinance could be on the books as soon as early October.
"Basically the ordinance says if you've got a phone within six inches of your head, that's primae facia evidence that you're in violation of the local ordinance and you're stopped and ticketed for it," Simmons said.
The fine for a citation could be $111.
Simmons said it's too late to stop drivers from completely using their cell phones, but the city can allow people to use technology to talk. Any hands-free device would be legal.
Simmons said the ordinance is Mission's attempt to make streets safer, but business owner Ed Schulteis is skeptical.
"I think people have to use good judgment when they're talking on their cell phone," Schulteis said. "However, I also think that Mission is looking for ways to raise revenue."
Ray Casey pumps gas and checks on cars at Casey Brothers Sinclair station. He said these days people are too distracted to talk to him even at the gas station, so he applauds the proposal.
"They really can't pay attention to what they're doing if they're on the phone," Casey said.
Simmons said Mission officers would only issue warnings for a period of time. Signage would be erected to warn drivers of the ordinance.
If the ordinance passes, Mission would be the second city in Kansas to ban most cell phones for drivers. Manhattan has been using the same ordinance since 2010.
In all of 2011, Manhattan officers wrote 2,450 tickets for illegal talking on the phone. However, the police department said it is difficult to know if the ordinance is having any effect on safety.
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