Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

Story by Scott Rothschild, courtesy The Lawrence Journal-World

 

Carie Lawrence, the grandmother of 5-year-old Cainan Shutt who was killed in a traffic accident on Kansas Highway 10, urged legislators on Wednesday to approve a bill that would double fines on the highway.

Before the accident last year, “We had a good life,” Lawrence said. Now, she said, the family is devastated.

“You can make a difference,” Lawrence told the Senate Transportation Committee. “Pass this bill.”

Cainan’s mother Ali sat in the audience. She had planned to speak to the committee, but her emotions took over and she couldn’t bring herself to talk. After the hearing, the committee took Senate Bill 342 under advisement.

The measure would allow the Kansas Department of Transportation to designate safety corridors on busy stretches of roads that have numerous crashes.

In those corridors, signs would be posted warning motorists that traffic fines for moving violations would be doubled along the route. The additional funds collected from the fines would be turned over to the state for enhanced enforcement, signing, education and other safety strategies along the corridors.

KDOT proposes designating K-10 and U.S. Highway 54 through Wichita as safety corridors.

Last April, a car driven by 24-year-old Ryan Pittman crossed from the eastbound to westbound lanes on K-10 striking a minivan in which Cainan Shutt was riding. Both Pittman and Shutt died. The accident spurred KDOT to move forward with a plan to install median barriers.

But Eudora Mayor Scott Hopson said more was needed to slow down motorists on K-10.

Passage of the bill “is very important to our community,” Hopson said.

He said it is common to see motorists driving 80 mph and 85 mph on K-10. And, he said, many are inattentive because they are texting. He said that while riding his motorcycle he has been run off the road several times by motorists.

Hopson said part of the problem is that K-10 is such a wide and smooth highway that people get lulled into a false sense of security.

State Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, testified for the bill, saying it “will ultimately save lives.”

Jerry Younger, deputy secretary for KDOT, said safety corridor programs in other states have reduced crashes and fatalities. Between 2002 and 2007, there was a 42.3 percent decrease in crashes in New Mexico’s Safety corridors, he said.

State Sen. Les Donovan, R-Wichita, that while improvements to 54 have been welcome, the accidents have become “horrific.”

“I think this is a long time coming,” Donovan said of the bill.

State Sen. Mike Peterson, R-Wichita, said he thought the program would be more effective if it would designate specific areas as safety corridors instead of long stretches of road. He said a safety corridor along Interstate 40 in New Mexico “appeared to be there just for the collection of revenue.”

Tom Whitaker, executive director of the Kansas Motor Carriers Association, said the bill should only double fines on speeding and not other moving violations.

And he said the bill should be limited to three safety corridors until KDOT determines if the program is effective in reducing crashes.

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6 Responses to multiple people look to Kansas Legislature to pass K-10 safety bill

  • So, lets get the facts straight. Was speed a factor in the cross over wreck? Yes or no? K-10 was designed to be a fast highway. Thats why the center medians are so wide compared to other highways and interstates. Why is Hopson so worried about speed? I thought he was on the cable band wagon? Now he’s worried about speed? I was just on I35 out west and its now 75mph. Were there alot of drivers going faster than the 75mph? NO. So maybe, raise K10 to 75 and then cut the ticket margin to just 5 over, not the current 10 over to get pulled over. Bottom line, slower speed limits just make for traffic congestion which equals more road rage.

  • The previous comment is a little like saying we should make stealing legal. That way we will have less arrests. However, we would not be safer. The same is true with higher speed, we would not be safer.

  • While I agree with the intent of Senate Bill 342, I’m not sure sure it’s in our best interest to have a hypocrite backing the effort. Stop pointing fingers Mayor and take a good look in the mirror. We all know how fast your bike can go. Bring on a corridor, MAYBE it will make a difference for a short period of time. Speeding, road rage and inattentive driving are issues of individualism and no matter the measures taken to prevent each, if the individual chooses not to change it’s a waste of time and money. Look how far banning texting while driving has come (sarcasm). I can count dozens by the day just in this dinky town alone.

  • To answer your question L.B.J., no. The actual cause of the crossover itself has yet to be addressed. So what we will get is a few miles of cables and, occasionally, more patrolling officers? Here is one of my concerns…….. Why are the officers of Douglas County so afraid to issue tickets to the Jo. County vehicles that travel on 10 hwy. in Douglas County? There was a “speed trap” set up yesterday afternoon around 4 o’clock in the westbound lanes of hwy. 10 just east of Lawrence. At this time of day and traveling in that direction, most vehicles would have DG plates. All of the “speed traps” I have witnessed or heard of since this whole “Make K10 safe” circus started have been at the time and in the direction as to penalize the DG citizens, even the ones which have been set up in JO county. As I drive both directions on this hwy. quite often, and in the range of 70 m.p.h. (+/- a couple), I realize that most of the vehicles who pass me traveling over the speed limit have either JO or Mo. license plates. Why doesn’t the Douglas County Sheriff’s office do their jobs and attempt to slow down the “holier than thou” JO county drivers. Why can’t the puppet masters of “Eudora Mayor” Scott Hopson, they know who they are, have him write one of his powerful letters to the Douglas County sheriff’s office and have the JO county offenders stopped and ticketed instead of harassing the local citizens? I feel that I did my part to slow traffic as from that point on till the Eudora exit, I flashed my headlights at every approaching vehicle on the ultra dangerous, as some would want you to think, 10 highway. I hope that got their attention away from the distraction of the illegal signage along the highway…Please, no applause, as I did it for safety reasons, not personal gratification………..

  • Everyone should realize that officers CAN NOT see the county a vehicle is from while running radar. This is the dumbest comment I have ever heard. If a car goes thru the radar over what the officer has set, he pulls out a goes after said vehicle. I dont see any “profiling” going on out on K10. How could there be? Has anyone thought that maybe the cops dont want to mess with 5-9 over? Anything under 10mph is just a misdamener. It takes 10+ for a major fine. Plus. everyone should know that there is not a speedometer that shows actually the speed you are going. Most show 3-5 faster than your actually driving. Bottom line, does speed REALLY play a part in these “cross over” wrecks? That is the question. I call b.s!

  • @LBJ….I said nothing about profiling or officers reading license plates . What I said was that at 4:30 in the afternoon, most of the vehicles traveling westbound on K10 would be DG county vehicles coming home from work. Had they set up in the other direction, they would have mostly JO county vehicles. It seems that every time they set up their little “speed traps”, they are in the direction for that time of day to avoid the JO county vehicles. Also, so you can get it right next time, there is not misdemeanor, and this is the proper spelling, or major fines. In most cases, 0-10 m.p.h. over the limit doesn’t go on your record as a moving violation. 11 mph and over does unless you want to pay a diversion, usually double the fine. In a 70 mph. speed limit, it is 0-5 mph over the speed limit that does not show up as a moving violation. 76 mph is a moving violation on K10 hwy. Speedometers don’t read right? I have never heard that one before. Then my gps must be off also. What I wonder is, why is there only attention payed to this hiway when there is an article in the paper about it’s safety? Will the words “safety corridor” make it safer? No, speed is not the major factor in the accidents on K10 as I have read, it’s poor or impaired, in many different ways, driving skills.