TOPEKA – A Senate committee Tuesday moved a bill that would ban texting while driving to the full chamber.
The measure Senate Bill 351 would make a first time violation a traffic infraction. Lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary Committee also amended the bill to remove a provision that would have made the unintentional killing of another person while texting punishable as “involuntary manslaughter while driving and texting.”
The amendment means the bill will treat deaths caused while texting and driving the same as if the driver had been fiddling with the radio or talking on the phone, said Sen. Terry Bruce, R-Hutchinson, who offered the amendment.
NOTE: The bill was amended in the committee and the online version linked to above will not immediately reflect those changes.
The measure passed on a voice vote and now goes to the full Senate.
Sen. Mary Pilcher Cook, R-Shawnee, voted against the measure. “I do see this as legislation that would be particularly hard to enforce,” she said.
It would be difficult to define what using meant, she said.
“It just seems very arbitrary to me to how you differentiate this from other types of negligent driving,” she said.