The laws for cell phone use while driving varies from state to state. In Kansas, texting or sending e-mails while driving is generally prohibited by Kansas Statute. See K.S.A. 8-15,111 (“no person shall operate a motor vehicle on a public road or highway while using a wireless communications device to write, send or read a written communication”). 2017 Kansas House Bill 2010 proposes to add “Holding a wireless communication device to the person’s ear” to the conduct prohibited by K.S.A. 8-15,111.
Similarly, Missouri law states that “no person twenty-one years of age or younger operating a moving motor vehicle upon the highways of this state shall, by means of a hand–held electronic wireless communications device, send, read, or write a text message or electronic message.” See Mo. Ann. Stat. § 304.820.
Even in situations where cell phone use while driving is not strictly prohibited by statute, the laws regarding punitive damages may provide additional compensation to those injured by a driver using his or her cell phone. In Kansas, to recover punitive damages in a civil case, the plaintiff has the “burden of proving, by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant acted toward the plaintiff with willful conduct, wanton conduct, fraud or malice.” Kan. Stat. Ann. § 60-3701.
Since cell phone use while driving should be considered willful and wanton conduct, an experienced personal injury attorney can help uncover evidence that will allow a recovery of punitive damages for a client who was injured by a driver using his or her cell phone.
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