In the state of Kansas (along with the majority of other states in the U.S.), officers have the ability to deter distracted drivers by issuing citations to anyone who is texting or reading emails while behind the wheel. However, police officers in Missouri do not have the same ability to do this. To date, Missouri doesn’t have laws in place that make the act of texting and driving illegal for everyone on the road. While it is illegal for anyone 21 or younger or driving a commercial vehicle with passengers to do so, that’s as far as the law goes.
Police officers in the state of Missouri regularly see drivers moving through areas where there are countless pedestrians, including school zones, while talking on or using their phone in some way. This is an extremely risky and dangerous behavior and it may eventually lead to a serious tragedy.
The Importance of Distracted Driving Laws
There are some people who still wonder why Missouri even needs distracted driving laws. The answer is pretty clear, when you think about it. Driving while you look at your phone is extremely dangerous behavior. In fact, according to the NHTSA, more than 3,000 people were killed and over 424,000 suffered serious injuries due to distraction related auto accidents across the nation in 2013.
If someone is looking at their phone, rather than the road, they miss changes in traffic conditions. They won’t see a school bus stopping to let children off, or someone at a crosswalk signaling for them to stop. When this happens, they may not have time to avoid hitting another vehicle from behind, or even worse, hitting a child as they get on or off the bus, or cross the road to school. Consider this, if you read a text for just five seconds while traveling at a rate of 55 miles per hour, your vehicle will have traveled the entire length of a football field before you have looked back up. Think about all the potential issues that may arise over this distance you have missed.
The Issue of Distracted Driving in School Zones
School zones have been established for a reason. They let drivers know that young children are nearby and that they should slow down and proceed with caution. Unfortunately, distracted drivers don’t always see the indication they are entering a school zone. As a result, they continue at a high rate of speed, and continue whatever activity distracted them in the first place. Because children are typically excited and may believe they are “safe” they may not be watching for vehicles. This is a bad combination and one that can have devastating effects.
Even if you are injured by a distracted driver who does not receive a citation for their actions, you can still utilize the services of a personal injury lawyer to recover compensation.