Missouri Updates Texting and Driving Legislation in 2016

According to the Highway Patrol, there have been 861 traffic deaths in Missouri in 2015, with almost 100 of these deaths correlated to driver inattention that includes cell phone usage. 357 accidents were specifically caused by texting and driving.

Missouri is one of the four states left without a ban on texting for all drivers. In 2009, state of Missouri senators, David Pearce and Jill Schupp banned texting and driving for novice drivers who are 21 years and younger. Drivers under the age of 22 who get caught texting while operating a vehicle in Missouri will be forced to pay a $200 fine.

In the last few weeks, measures that include the Senate Bill 569, Senate Bill 821, and House Bill 1671 have been discussed among Missouri lawmakers. Some of the changes proposed in these bills would involve increased penalties for texting and driving and an extension of the current law, banning texting and driving to individuals of all ages. If this law passes, it will be illegal for any driver in the state of Missouri to send or read a text message unless the device is equipped with technology that allows for voice recognition hands-free texting and is being used in the appropriate manner.

Currently, 46 states and the District of Columbia have banned text messaging for drivers of all ages. Texas and Missouri are the two states that only implemented this law for novice drivers while Montana and Arizona do not currently have bans against texting and driving.

Senator David Pearce explains that the legislation to ban texting for all Missouri drivers is a common sense law that’s been a top priority of his for quite some time. He explains that it is far too common for people to make jokes about having a fear of missing out because of not reading or responding to a text message. Pearce states that no text message is crucial enough to risk missing out on the rest of life or even worse, causing someone else’s life to end.

Texting and driving is a serious issue that can lead to severe injuries and fatalities. It will be interesting to see whether or not Missouri joins the other states in implementing this no texting law for all drivers.

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