Missouri recently enacted a law that imposes a partial ban on texting while driving. Section 304.820, RSMo, bans drivers 21 years old and younger from texting while they are operating a motor vehicle. However, after its inception, few tickets have been written enforcing this law. As of January 2010, only 13 tickets statewide had been issued, although the law had been in effect since August 2009. The law is difficult to enforce, because it is hard to tell who is texting, and who is dialing a phone call, a practice that is legal.
There are bills currently being addressed in the Missouri House and Senate that would implement a complete ban on texting while driving, for all ages. The bill seems to have support from both the Missouri Senate and House. Certainly, the current law sends a message that it is somehow safe to text while you drive, so long as you are 22 years old or older. It is difficult to imagine how typing while driving is a safe practice for anyone. The National Safety Council reported in 2009 that at least 200,000 accidents are caused a year by texting while driving in the United States. Distracted drivers, whether it be making a call, texting, or simply reaching for a cell phone, can have disastrous results on Missouri’s roads.
For more information on laws around the United States related to cell phone use while driving, click here.