Calling Kansas ... legislators. If youíre driving, do not take this call. Emphatically, do not read the accompanying text message.

Return to them when you are parked and not likely to rear-end the vehicle in front of you, get rear-ended or endanger the pedestrian on the sidewalk.

And then, listen up.

Itís time to ban motorists from talking on cell phones and texting while driving.

Anecdotal and statistical evidence about the dangerous practice is piling up ó so to speak. ...

In Kansas, a 19-year-old woman died near Manhattan after she drove onto a median, overcorrected and flipped her car. Texting, again.

One study after another has highlighted the hazards of multitasking behind the wheel.

According to the Transportation Research Institute at The University of Kansas, cell phone users are more than five times as likely to be involved in a traffic accident as undistracted motorists.

Multiple studies have pointed out that cell phone use raises the risk of driving to that of a legally drunken driver.

And yet, partly because of inaction by government officials, behind-the-wheel phone use and texting are accepted as common practices. ... The Kansas Legislature this year restricted drivers younger than 16 and a half from using cell phones. ...

Those are good steps but not enough.

Besides creating hazards, drivers on cell phones increase traffic congestion, experts say.

There is simply no way to justify the practice.

States must stop indulging a deadly habit and outlaw behind-the-wheel text messaging and cell phone use.

In addition, state and local police should routinely note the use of cell phones and communication devices in crash investigations.

And the federal government should do its part with comprehensive research and a vigorous public safety campaign.

ó The Kansas City Star