The St. Louis suburb of Kirkwood, Mo., banned all drivers – regardless of age – from texting within the city limits with a new ordinance unanimously passed by its city council on July 3, 2014. It goes further than Missouri’s anti-texting law, which bars only those 21 years old and younger from texting while driving.
Kirkwood is not the first St. Louis area city to prohibit all texting while driving. Previously, St. John, Manchester, and Florissant banned this dangerous practice.
And all enacted such bans with good reason.
Adults Text and Drive as Much as Teenagers
A common perception is that most drivers who are texting are teenagers, but that may not be reality. A Pew Research Center study revealed that adults over the age of 21 are just as likely to text behind the wheel as their younger counterparts. Twenty five percent of the 21-and-over survey respondents said they have texted while driving. Earlier studies showed the same rate for teenagers who text while driving.
That same Pew survey indicated that adults over 21 were more likely than teenagers to talk on their cell phones while driving. Three out of four adults in the survey who owned cell phones said they’ve made calls while driving, while 52 study percent of cell-phone owning drivers 16 to 17 years old in previous research efforts admitted doing so.
Perhaps even more alarming, 17 percent of adults in the Pew study reported bumping into a person or an object while driving because they were talking or texting on their phone.
Deadly Crashes Caused by Distracted Drivers
A mere “bumping” sounds harmless enough. But distracted truck drivers and distracted passenger vehicle drivers can cause fatal accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted drivers in their 20s account for 27 percent of all deadly crashes in the country each year.
Drivers distracted by using their cell phones behind the wheel come from all age groups. When they cause catastrophic accidents, they should be held accountable. If you or a family member has been a victim of an accident caused by a distracted driver, you may want to consult with an attorney to explore your legal rights.