Officers to crack down on distracted driving

Kansas law enforcement officers will be cracking down on texting and driving in a campaign running through April 27.

According to an announcement by the Kansas Department of Transportation on Friday, law enforcement officers will conduct overtime enforcement and also will be supporting a campaign theme, “Ditch the distractions, not the car. Just Drive.”

Texting and driving was outlawed in Kansas, and special attention will be paid to distracted driving during this week through April 27.

Appearing at a news conference Friday at the state Capitol in Topeka, Julie Breitenstein talked about how distracted driving changed her life and that of her entire family.

“When you are behind the wheel of a vehicle, no text message is so important that it cannot wait,” Breitenstein said at the conference. “When you are driving, every text message can wait.”

Breitenstein spoke at the news conference announcing a statewide campaign to stop texting while driving. Also on the program was her son, Austin, who was incapacitated in a 2009 crash in which he was texting and driving.

Accompanying Austin was his companion dog, Macie. Before the crash, Austin was a popular student with a vibrant family and social life. “Today, Macie is Austin’s best friend,” Breitenstein said.

Paul Atchley, a professor of psychology at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, preceded Breitenstein on the program and spoke about the growing aspect of distracted driving as a cause of vehicle crashes.

“Distracted driving is underreported as a cause of crashes because, unlike impaired driving, it is difficult to legally establish and challenging to prove,” Atchley said.

Crash report investigations often require additional evidence and resources, Atchley said, so distraction often is not reported as a contributing circumstance when it may well have been a key factor.

Gary Warner, public resource officer for the Kansas Highway Patrol, said troopers, police officers and sheriff’s deputies across the state are more diligently enforcing the state law which prohibits texting while driving.

In cooperation with the Kansas Department of Transportation, law enforcement will be conducting overtime enforcement and supporting a campaign running through April 27.

“When you text while driving, you take your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel and mind off the task of driving,” Warner said. “That puts everybody’s lives in danger, and no one has the right to do that.”

Sporting KC plays Montreal tonight in KCK

Sporting Kansas City will play host to the Montreal Impact at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at Sporting Park, Kansas City, Kan.

After a bye last weekend, manager Peter Vermes’ squad (2-1-2) resumes regular season action with a four-game unbeaten streak while Montreal (0-3-3) arrives in search of the club’s first victory this season.

A limited number of tickets, including the recent release of standing room only tickets, are available online at and at the Sporting Park box offices. A sell-out crowd, the stadium’s 40th straight for an MLS match, will be in attendance for the Eastern Conference match-up.

Saturday’s match, presented by Ivy Funds, will be broadcast locally on 38 the Spot and SKCTV across the Midwest. Fans can listen to the match on Sports Radio 810 WHB (English) or on LA Gran D 1340 AM (Spanish) with special guest analyst Oriol Rosell.

Montreal suffered three straight losses to start the season under new head coach Frank Klopas, but is unbeaten in their last three matches after a 1-1 draw with the Chicago Fire last Saturday. The Impact’s newest acquisition, forward Jack McInerney, scored the lone goal in his debut after being acquired in a trade from the Philadelphia Union earlier this month.

Sporting KC’s last outing came two weeks ago in a scoreless draw against Real Salt Lake at Sporting Park, in which the home side outshot the visitors 20-4. Rosell received a straight red card in the 83rd minute of the match and will be unavailable on Saturday due to a mandatory one-game suspension.

Sporting KC will also be without striker C.J. Sapong due to injury while Montreal Impact Designated Player Hernan Bernardello is questionable after suffering an ankle injury on April 5.

Fans are encouraged to arrive early on Saturday for pregame events on the Sprint Plaza, including an autograph session with Sporting KC midfielder Christian Duke.  Gates will open at 5:30 p.m. and collection bins will be available at all entrances to donate new and gently used soccer equipment as part of Sporting KC’s “Recycle Your Game” initiative. All items will be distributed to youth soccer players in underprivileged communities and fans that donate will receive a 10 percent off coupon for Sporting KC merchandise at Sporting Style locations.