Politics & Government

State unveils no-texting-while-driving posters

TOPEKA — As part of a push to ban texting for all drivers, the Kansas Department of Transportation unveiled a poster series Tuesday that urges drivers to stop typing while their car is moving.

There isn't a lot of data yet showing the impact of texting while driving, said Lt. Gov. Troy Findley, a Democrat. "But we really don't need a lot of data to know that it's a really bad idea."

The five posters were designed by Kansas State University graduate student Brian Bookwalter, 32, and include images such as a bare foot with a toe tag reading "NT BSY JUST DRVN" with the question "What will your last text message say?" beneath it.

The posters, along with a billboard design and website, are part of Bookwalter's graduate thesis project.

Twenty-three states have some sort of texting ban. Since Jan. 1, new Kansas teen drivers have been barred from using cell phones while behind the wheel.

The Senate has passed two bills that would block all drivers from texting. Rep. Gary Hayzlett, R-Lakin, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, said his committee would likely take up a texting ban bill during the veto session, which starts today.

Sen. Tim Owens, R-Overland Park, Senate Judiciary Committee chair, said he wanted people to "pocket it and lock it" and just not use cell phones while driving.

He called the ban critical to public safety and one that would save lives.

Steve Swartz, spokesman for the Kansas Department of Transportation, said his department planned to use Bookwalter's poster designs on notebooks that would be distributed at the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson.