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Highway ‘safety corridor’ bill gets initial Senate approval

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012, at 7:06 p.m.
  • Updated Sunday, April 8, 2012, at 1:42 p.m.

The state Senate on Wednesday gave tentative approval to a bill that would clear the way for Wichita and the state to designate Kellogg as a “safety corridor” with enhanced penalties for speeding and other moving violations.

Senators are expected to take a final vote Thursday that will advance Senate Bill 342 to the House.

Several senators, including Les Donovan, R-Wichita, argued that the designation would help save lives, like those of two 5-year-old children killed in separate accidents on Kellogg and on K-10, the highway linking Lawrence and Lenexa.

Those two highways are identified as being the first proposed safety corridors in Kansas. The Kellogg corridor is expected to include the entire freeway section of the road where it passes through Wichita.

“It’s something that needs to happen,” Donovan said. “We have people dying out there that don’t need to.”

The bill would double the fines for moving violations committed in a safety corridor.

And it would make it much harder for errant drivers to keep a traffic violation from coming to the attention of their insurance company and raising their rates.

As the bill stands, violations in safety corridors would be ineligible for “diversion,” a program in which motorists can get a ticket dismissed if they pay a fee and keep a clean driving record for a specified period of time.

In addition, it would require that violations of 5 mph or more over the speed limit go on the driver’s record if the offense is committed in a safety corridor.

Outside safety corridors, speeding violations of less than 10 mph don’t go on the record.

Reach Dion Lefler at 316-268-6527 or dlefler@wichitaeagle.com.

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