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What are Missouri’s distracted driving laws?

On Behalf of | Mar 29, 2021 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

You see it all the time. A driver you pass on the freeway is busy texting on their cell phone. You notice a college-age driver watching TV on their phone while also driving through traffic. You yourself are tempted to answer a call while behind the wheel.

You know that many states have passed strict rules about distracted driving in recent years. But what about Missouri? What are Missouri’s distracted driving laws?

Missouri distracted driving laws

Missouri is one of only two states that hasn’t banned texting while driving entirely. In Missouri, texting while driving is illegal only for drivers under age 21. Yet in Illinois, drivers can’t even have a cell phone in their hand while driving. They can only use a hand-free or Bluetooth-equipped device. In Iowa, only drivers over 18 can use their phones to talk (not text) while driving or as a GPS navigation system.

The dangers of texting and driving

Yet while texting isn’t completely banned for Missouri drivers, many Missouri state officials want drivers to stop texting and driving and avoid distracted driving. That’s because, according to the Center for Disease Control, about eight people die every day in the United States in a distracted driving accident. Also, officials realize texting while driving is particularly dangerous. When drivers are texting while driving, they are distracted in three main ways:

  1. Visually – their eyes are off the road and their surroundings
  2. Manually – their hands are off their steering wheel
  3. Cognitively – their minds are not focused on driving

In addition, drivers take their eyes off the road for about five seconds when texting. If a driver is going 55 miles per hour during that five seconds, their car travels the length of an entire football field – plenty of time to not see traffic slowing down in front of you or miss seeing a red light.

So even though most Missouri drivers won’t face a ticket for texting while driving, you can stop texting while driving. You can decide to put your phone behind your front seat, turn it off while driving or use an app that doesn’t allow you to text and drive. All of those options are certainly better than causing a devastating accident, an accident that you could sustain injuries in and hurt someone else seriously too.