OLATHE, Kan. — Ahead of Wednesday evening's snowstorm, the Kansas Highway Patrol was working to make roads easier for crews to clear, making it safer for drivers, too.
In his more than 30 years of law enforcement, Darryl Hayes has responded to plenty of crashes in bad weather.
The retired Westwood officer now works to prevent them as a motorist assist tech for the Kansas Highway Patrol.
"When it's real slick out, cars often are still going way too fast," Hayes said. "A lot of them think that they're kind of bulletproof because they drive an SUV or have big snow tires on. Unfortunately on ice, nothing works."
When drivers lose control, they may go off into the side of the road.
"So, if a vehicle is on the shoulder and you float over into the shoulder, you're going to hit that vehicle. This has happened so many times," Hayes said.
According to KHP, there's usually one or two crashes that involve an abandoned car every time there's a snow event.
"Having one is way too many, and it causes all our insurances to go up. It causes hardship for people who care, sometimes that's our only car to get to point A to point B," said Lt. Mitch Mellick with KHP Troop A.
So ahead of the latest storm, KHP began towing at noon any abandoned cars from the shoulders of interstates and highways.
"People that have their vehicles towed, they're a little upset," Mellick said. "I get that, understand that frustration. But in reality, we're trying to protect their property as well."
Towing is something KHP has done during inclement weather for the last two years, and they'll keep towing abandoned vehicles during the storm until the Kansas Department of Transportation is done plowing.
When it comes to navigating winter roads, Hayes offered words of advice.
"Speed and water are not a good mixture, as well as speed and ice, so I would just recommend people slow down, take your time. Get there and arrive alive," Hayes said.
For anyone wondering if KHP has towed their car, or for anyone in need of roadside assistance, dial *47 on a cellphone or call 913-782-8100.
Kansas State Statues about abandoned vehicles.
8-1572. Additional parking regulations; powers of secretary and local authorities. (a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, every vehicle stopped or parked upon a two-way roadway shall be so stopped or parked with the right-hand wheels parallel to and within twelve (12) inches of the right-hand curb or as close as practicable to the right edge of the right-hand shoulder.
8-1570. Authority of police officer to remove vehicle in violation of 8-1569 from highway. (a) Whenever any police officer finds a vehicle in violation of any of the provisions of K.S.A. 8-1569, such officer is hereby authorized to move such vehicle, or require the driver or other person in charge of the vehicle to move the same, to a position off the roadway.
(b) Any police officer is hereby authorized to remove or cause to be removed to a place of safety any unattended vehicle illegally left standing upon any highway, bridge, causeway, or in any tunnel, in such position or under such circumstances as to obstruct the normal movement of traffic.
(c) Any police officer is hereby authorized to remove or cause to be removed to the nearest garage or other place of safety any vehicle found upon a highway when:
(1) Report has been made that such vehicle has been stolen or taken without the consent of its owner.
(2) The person or persons in charge of such vehicle are unable to provide for its custody or removal; or
(3) When the person driving or in control of such vehicle is arrested for an alleged offense for which the officer is required by law to take the person arrested before a judge of the district court without unnecessary delay.
8-1716. Parked vehicles: lamps required; color; location; time for display of lighted lamps; depressing or dimming of head lamps. (a) Every vehicle shall be equipped with one (1) or more lamps which, when lighted, shall display a white or amber light visible from a distance of one thousand (1,000) feet to the front of the vehicle, and a red light visible from a distance of one thousand (1,000) feet to the rear of the vehicle. The location of said lamp or lamps always shall be such that at least one (1) lamp or combination of lamps meeting the requirements of this section is installed as near as practicable to the side of the vehicle which is closest to passing traffic.
(b) Whenever a vehicle is lawfully parked upon a street or highway during the hours between a half-hour after sunset and a half-hour before sunrise, and in the event, there is sufficient light to reveal persons and vehicles within a distance of one thousand (1,000) feet upon such street or highway, no lights need be displayed upon such parked vehicle.
(c) Whenever a vehicle is parked or stopped upon a roadway or shoulder adjacent thereto, whether attended or unattended, during the hours between a half-hour after sunset and a half-hour before sunrise and there is insufficient light to reveal any person or object within a distance of one thousand (1,000) feet upon such highway, such vehicle so parked or stopped shall be equipped with and shall display lamps meeting the requirements of subsection (a).
8-15,107. Removal of vehicles obstructing traffic; requirements. (a) Except in the case of an accident involving death or apparent injury of any person, or the transportation of hazardous material, the owner or driver of a vehicle which obstructs the regular flow of traffic on any interstate highway, U.S. highway, or any multilane or divided roadway, shall make every reasonable effort to move the vehicle from the roadway, if, moving the vehicle may be done safely, does not require towing and may be operated under its own power without further damage to the vehicle or the roadway and without endangering other vehicles or persons upon the roadway.
(b) Except in the case of an accident involving death or apparent injury of any person or the transportation of hazardous material, authorized employees or agents of the Kansas department of transportation, Kansas highway patrol or other law enforcement agency without the consent of the driver or owner of the vehicle or property, may require, assist in or cause the removal from the roadway any vehicle, debris or any other property which is obstructing the regular flow of traffic, creating or aggravating an emergency situation or otherwise endangering public safety.
(c) No state, county or municipal agency nor their authorized employees or agents shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the reasonable exercise of authority granted under this section.
(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, a driver is required to comply with the applicable provisions of K.S.A. 8-1601 et seq., and amendments thereto.
(e) From and after July 1, 2009, and prior to July 1, 2010, a law enforcement officer shall issue a warning citation to anyone violating subsection (a).
(f) This section shall be part of and supplemental to the uniform act regulating traffic on highways.
8-1102. Motor vehicle abandoned on public highway or property open to use by public; public agency may impound; disposition; motor vehicle abandoned on private property; criminal trespass; impounding and disposition of vehicle; notice; recovery from impoundment, requirements. (a) (1) A person shall not use the public highway to abandon vehicles or use the highway to leave vehicles unattended in such a manner as to interfere with public highway operations. When a person leaves a motor vehicle on a public highway or other property open to use by the public, the public agency having jurisdiction of such highway or other property open to use by the public, after 48 hours or when the motor vehicle interferes with public highway operations, may remove, and impound the motor vehicle.
(2) Any motor vehicle which has been impounded as provided in this section for 30 days or more shall be disposed of in the following manner: If such motor vehicle has displayed thereon a registration plate issued by the division of vehicles and has been registered with the division, the public agency shall request verification from the division of vehicles of the last registered owner and any lienholders, if any. Such verification request shall be submitted to the division of vehicles not more than 30 days after such agency took possession of the vehicle. The public agency shall mail a notice by certified mail to the registered owner thereof, addressed to the address as shown on the certificate of registration, and to the lienholder, if any, of record in the county in which the title shows the owner resides, if registered in this state. The notice shall state that if the owner or lienholder does not claim such motor vehicle and pay the removal and storage charges incurred by such public agency on it within 15 days from the date of the mailing of the notice, that it will be sold at public auction to the highest bidder for cash. The notice shall be mailed within 10 days after receipt of verification of the last owner and any lienholders, if any, as provided in this subsection.
After 15 days from date of mailing notice, the public agency shall publish a notice once a week for two consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where such motor vehicle was abandoned and left, which notice shall describe the motor vehicle by name of maker, model, serial number, and owner, if known, and stating that it has been impounded by the public agency and that it will be sold at public auction to the highest bidder for cash if the owner thereof does not claim it within 10 days of the date of the second publication of the notice and pay the removal and storage charges, and publication costs incurred by the public agency. If the motor vehicle does not display a registration plate issued by the division of vehicles and is not registered with the division, the public agency after 30 days from the date of impoundment, shall request verification from the division of vehicles of the last registered owner and any lienholders, if any. Such verification request shall be submitted to the division of vehicles no more than 30 days after such agency took possession of the vehicle. The public agency shall mail a notice by certified mail to the registered owner thereof, addressed to the address as shown on the certificate of registration, and to the lienholder, if any, of record in the county in which the title shows the owner resides, if registered in this state. The notice shall state that if the owner or lienholder does not claim such motor vehicle and pay the removal and storage charges incurred by such public agency on it within 15 days from the date of the mailing of the notice, it will be sold at public auction to the highest bidder for cash. The notice shall be mailed within 10 days after receipt of verification of the last owner and any lienholders, if any, as provided in this subsection. After 15 days from the date of mailing notice, the public agency shall publish a notice in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where such motor vehicle was abandoned and left, which notice shall describe the motor vehicle by name of maker, model, color and serial number and shall state that it has been impounded by said public agency and will be sold at public auction to the highest bidder for cash, if the owner thereof does not claim it within 10 days of the date of the second publication of the notice and pay the removal and storage charges incurred by the public agency.
When any public agency has complied with the provisions of this section with respect to an abandoned motor vehicle and the owner thereof does not claim it within the time stated in the notice and pay the removal and storage charges and publication costs incurred by the public agency on such motor vehicle, the public agency may sell the motor vehicle at public auction to the highest bidder for cash.
(3) After any sale pursuant to this section, the purchaser may file proof thereof with the division of vehicles, and the division shall issue a certificate of title to the purchaser of such motor vehicle. All moneys derived from the sale of motor vehicles pursuant to this section, after payment of the expenses of the impoundment and sale, shall be paid into the fund of the public agency which is used by it for the construction or maintenance of highways.
(b) Any person who abandons and leaves a vehicle on real property, other than public property or property open to use by the public, which is not owned or leased by such person or by the owner or lessee of such vehicle shall be guilty of criminal trespass, as defined in K.S.A. 2012 Supp. 21-5808, and amendments thereto, and upon request of the owner or occupant of such real property, the public agency in whose jurisdiction such property is situated may remove and dispose of such vehicle in the manner provided in subsection (a), except that the provisions of subsection (a) requiring that a motor vehicle be abandoned for a period of time in excess of 48 hours prior to its removal shall not be applicable to abandoned vehicles which are subject to the provisions of this subsection. Any person removing such vehicle from the real property at the request of such public agency shall have a possessory lien on such vehicle for the costs incurred in removing, towing, and storing such vehicle.
(c) Whenever any motor vehicle has been left unattended for more than 48 hours or when any unattended motor vehicle interferes with public highway operations, any law enforcement officer is hereby authorized to move such vehicle or cause to have the vehicle moved as provided in K.S.A. 8-1103 et seq., and amendments thereto.
(d) The notice provisions of this section shall apply to any motor vehicle which has been impounded as provided in K.S.A. 8-1567, and amendments thereto.
(e) Any person attempting to recover a motor vehicle impounded as provided in this section or in accordance with a city ordinance or county resolution providing for the impoundment of motor vehicles, shall show proof of valid registration and ownership of the motor vehicle to the public agency before obtaining the motor vehicle. In addition, the public agency may require payment of all reasonable costs associated with the impoundment of the motor vehicle, including transportation and storage fees, prior to release of the motor vehicle.
8-1101. Abandoning and leaving on highways; definitions. As used in this act: (a) "Public agency" means and includes the department of transportation, the Kansas turnpike authority, a county, city, and township.
(b) "Motor vehicle" means every vehicle, or tractor trailer combination, which is self-propelled by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway except vehicles used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks.
(c) "Highway" means the entire width between the boundary lines of every way publicly maintained when any part thereof is open to the use of the public for the purposes of vehicular travel.
(d) "Law enforcement officer" means and includes the Kansas highway patrol, police, sheriff, who are vested with the power and authority of peace, police, and law enforcement, or those authorized to direct or regulate traffic or to make arrests for violations of traffic regulations