Missouri Senate Proposes New Texting and Driving Law

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A driver texting behind the wheel. Photo courtesy: azcentral.com

With everyone attached to their cellphones, it is no surprise that texting and driving is a real issue across the nation.

According to The National Safety Council, 660,000 drivers attempt to use their phone while behind the wheel – causing 1.6 million crashes each year. Texting while driving is proven to be 6 times more dangerous than drinking and driving, leaving 390,000 injuries per year.

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A car damaged from being rear-ended, due to distracted driving. Photo courtesy: Sun Sentinel

Missouri has a law that makes it illegal for drivers 21 and under to text or to use their phone behind the wheel, leading to a $100+ fine.

Recently Missouri Senator Wayne Wallingford, desiring to ban texting and driving for all Missouri citizens, proposed a ban across the state.

“A lot of people think distracted driving is a teenager problem or a young people problem, but when we look at the crash data that has been increasing since 2014, 70 percent of those crashes are drivers that are 22 years and older,” Nelson said.

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A school zone, where fines will be doubled if the law is violated. Photo courtesy: insurance.com

Distracted driving was to blame for 14% of the state’s accidents in 2015-2017, and the Missouri Department of Transportation reported that drivers under the age of 21 were involved in 4,270 crashes due to distracted driving.

Wallingford’s bill Senate 15 bill would ban drivers from using a handheld device and even ban them from using it at stoplights. Emergency services, GPS, and wireless devices will still be allowed.

There would be a $50 fine for violating the law – an amount three times lower than the current fine in place. There would be a $100 fine if you use your device in a work zone with workers present or a school zone.

  • Lakin Weldy / HLGU Vanguard / April 2019

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