Missouri Distracted Driving Laws – What You Need to Know

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There are at least half a dozen distracted driving bills that have been already filed for the legislative session in 2016 for the state of Missouri. In the Senate, Missouri’s own Senator David Pearce and Senator Jill Schupp plan to seek a ban on texting for all drivers – not just those under the age of 21. In the House, there are already three bills that have been filed to do similar things, and a fourth has been designed to outlaw the use of all handheld communications and devices by drivers.

According to the Highway Patrol, there were more than 861 traffic deaths in Missouri for 2015, with 100 being directly linked to driver inattention – including the use of cellphones. Texting and driving was also cited in 357 accidents. Missouri is one of only a few states that does not have a ban on texting for all drivers.

The Missouri Department of Transportation says as much as 80 percent of accidents in the state involve some sort of distraction – whether it be eating, texting, talking, etc.

What the Current Laws State

As of right now, Missouri has very few restrictions for distracted drivers. The only laws in place are for (i) drivers under the age of 21, who cannot text while driving, and (ii) commercial drivers, who are banned from texting or using cellphones while operating their vehicles.

Attorney Doug Horn has made it clear that he supports the laws under this legislative session, especially those that address the ban on texting. Attorney Horn feels that all drivers should be prohibited from texting – not just those under 21. Age is not the only deciding factor in whether or not a driver will be distracted. All drivers, regardless of age, can become severely distracted when they text and/or talk on their phones while driving.

What is Proposed in the 2016 Legislative Session?

There are several bills in the legislative session that address distracted driving, which include:

  • Senate Bill 569 – This bill would make all adults (over 21) subject to the existing ban on texting that is currently only applicable to those under the age of 21.
  • Senate Bill 821 – This seeks to apply texting and driving bans to all drivers.
  • House Bill 1377 – This makes existing state texting bans apply to all drivers.
  • House Bill 1423 – This applies all existing bans on texting to all drivers as well.
  • House Bill 1542 – This permits only hands-free texting by all drivers in the state, and applies to all ages.
  • House Bill 1544 – This outlaws the use of handheld communication devices while driving, but hands-free devices would be accepted.

While there is plenty of overlap, there is no guarantee that these bans will go into effect. The Senate and House both want stricter bans on texting and driving to prevent injuries, but not all drivers agree.

Distracted Driving is Negligent Driving

If you or a loved one was injured by a distracted driver, you may be eligible for compensation under the law. Contact Horn Law today to schedule a free consultation with Doug Horn at 816-795-7500, or fill out our contact form with your questions.