Distracted driving has become one of the leading causes of car accidents in Missouri and the nation. Today, more than ever before, drivers have access to numerous distractions while behind the wheel. The most common of these distractions are cellphones. Because the use of cellphones while driving – and particularly text messaging– is extremely dangerous, many states have passed laws prohibiting text messaging or the use of handheld devices while driving. Missouri currently only prohibits texting for novice drivers under the age of 21.
In an effort to introduce new legislation, St. Louis democrats are encouraging the Missouri House panel to pass a statewide texting while driving ban for all drivers. Although there is widespread support for a texting ban throughout the state, officials from the House Transportation Committee and the Missouri Highway Patrol have raised questions about enforcing the law. Specifically, they have questioned how law enforcement officers can determine if a driver was texting or using their phone for dialing or navigation. These questions will be considered by the House panel.
While state lawmakers hash out the details of a statewide texting ban, many safety advocates are encouraging them to think of the numerous preventable accidents caused by distracted driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 3,300 people were killed in the U.S. in 2012 in crashes involving a distracted driver. A large percentage of these involved drivers who were texting at the time.
According to the NHTSA, texting behind the wheel is considered one of the most alarming forms of distracted driving because it commands a driver’s visual, manual, and cognitive attention simultaneously. According to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, this increases the risk of getting into a traffic crash by two times.
Passing a statewide texting while driving ban is a step toward improving safety and reducing the number of preventable accidents on Missouri roadways. Although there is currently no statewide texting ban, victims injured in auto accidents caused by texting or distracted drivers may still have the right to hold at-fault motorists accountable for their negligence. To learn more about your rights and how a Kansas City car accident lawyer from Wendt Law Firm P.C. can help, call 816-531-4415 for a FREE consultation.