You are currently viewing New Law Makes Texting While Driving Illegal in Missouri

New Law Makes Texting While Driving Illegal in Missouri

Effective Monday August 28th, drivers will no longer be able to hold their cell phone in their hand while driving.

Drivers in Missouri will also be prohibited from:

  • Typing, Sending, or Reading Text Messages
  • Recording, Posting, or Broadcasting Video
  • Watching a Video or Movie

The new law does allow drivers to use “hands free” functions, including the following

  • Place or receive voice calls utilizing voice-operated or hands-free functions that can be engaged or disengaged with a single touch or swipe.
  • Talk on the phone, hands-free, utilizing features like built-in phone speaker or Bluetooth
  • Use voice-to-text features to send or receive text-based communications.

Missouri is Finally Getting Serious About Reducing Violent Collisions

Missouri is taking a step in the right direction to improve driver safety and reduce the types of collisions that cause serious injury and traffic-related fatalities. Traffic fatalities have steadily increased over the last 10 ten years and cell phone use while driving has certainly been a primary factor as to why Missouri consistently ranks low in driver safety among the 50 states.

There is highway safety data to back up what many have called a “distracted driving epidemic”. According to the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety data, between 2012 and 2021, there have been 197,564 distracted driving-related crashes in Missouri that have killed 801 people. It would be reasonable to assume that the overwhelming majority of these crashes were due to cell phone use behind the wheel.

As a lawyer who concentrates his practice in representing victims of motor vehicle collisions, I have seen first-hand that cell phone use while driving not only results in violent crashes, but it also causes more serious injuries that have longer-range consequences. In fact, a significant number of the distracted driving related crashes I handle result in whiplash-related concussions and traumatic brain injuries.

Aside from reducing crashes, this new law will also provide another channel to help educate the public about the dangers of distracted driving. Because cell phone use is habit-forming, the hope is that the new law will make drivers think twice about the decision to pick up their phone while driving.

Laws Are Fine- But What We Really Need Are More Technological Advances

Back in 2010 when I was first advocating for making texting while driving illegal in Missouri, there was no such thing as Bluetooth. Now it is common-place and more drivers have become “hands-free”.

With Missouri’s new law, it will become the 28th state to require hands-free phone use for drivers. As more states adopt similar “hands free laws” in response to the distracted driving epidemic, you can count on the car manufacturers and communications companies to develop technology that will allow people to safely use their cell phones while driving.

That will make the biggest difference in advancing driver safety.
Drive safe and arrive live and well.

About Doug Horn

Attorney Doug Horn is the Lead Attorney of The Horn Law Firm, P.C. based in Kansas City. In addition to his law practice, Doug has been working to advance driver safety in Missouri since 2010, particularly in the areas of distracted driving prevention, teen driver protection, and traffic fatality reduction.

For more information visit