Missouri’s Texting and Driving Law

Only three U.S. states allow drivers to text and drive.  Missouri is one of them.

Given all the information that shows just how dangerous distracted driving is, should the Show Me State take another look at its texting and driving laws?

Who Can Text and Drive in Missouri?

Not all drivers in Missouri are allowed to text and drive.  Those 21 years old and younger cannot text while behind the wheel.  But anyone 22 years and older in Missouri can legally text and drive.  In Illinois it is against the law for any person of any age to use their cell phone for any reason while driving.

Commercial truckers of any age are banned from texting and driving in Missouri.

Numerous studies have shown the leading cause of car and truck crashes is driver error.  One of today’s escalating driver errors is choosing to use a cell phone and thereby diverting attention from the road.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety published a study in January 2018 that reinforces previously reported dangers.  The researchers relied on data pulled from drivers’ actions that were monitored by in-vehicle cameras.  The goal of the research was to identify how or if drivers using their cell phones increase their risk for crashing.

The researchers found that visual-manual tasks that take drivers’ eyes and attention off the road – such as texting on their smartphones – greatly increase their chances for crashing.  This theoretical conclusion only bolsters the real-life, tabulated consequences of fatal car wrecks involving distracted drivers in Missouri and across the country.

Over 100 Deaths in 2016 in Missouri Distracted Driving Crashes

According to federal data, nearly 3,500 people died in distracted driving accidents in 2016, the most recent year for which such data is available. And per the Missouri Highway Patrol, that same year there were 21,700 crashes in Missouri involving distracted drivers, killing 114 people. Another 9,100 people were hurt in Missouri’s distracted driver crashes.

Fortunately, the new year is ringing in a revisit of Missouri’s texting and driving laws by state legislators.  Lawmakers during this new House and Senate session are considering making it illegal for all drivers, regardless of age, to text and drive.

It’s estimated that drivers looking at their phones take their eyes off the wheel for nearly five seconds on average.  In those five seconds an innocent life or multiple lives may be lost for no other reason than a driver’s careless impulse to text.

If you were seriously injured or had a family member perish in an accident caused by another driver, consult with a motor vehicle accident attorney, who can help determine whether distracted driving was involved.

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.

Authored by Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C., posted in Blog January 11, 2018