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What is distracted versus reckless driving in Missouri?

Although the safety features of motor vehicles continue to improve, car accidents injure thousands and claim the lives of thousands more every year. Most car accidents are completely avoidable with at least one of the drivers involved to blame. A growing number of accidents are being caused by distracted drivers who may be acting recklessly.

A distracted driver is anyone who is driving while being distracted. A distraction can be anything from changing the radio to sending text messages. While most distractions today involve technology, eating while driving or doing one's hair are common distractions that occur daily. Today almost 80 percent of all car accidents involved some form of distracted driving. With more than 27 percent of fatal crashes happening to drivers in their 20s, distracted driving is an issue that is increasingly affecting the younger generation.

In Missouri, reckless driving is codified, and the language is broad and covers a wide range of situations. The law requires drivers to operate their vehicles with the highest degree of care. This means that drivers must travel at a prudent rate of speed, drive without the intent to harm others or their property, and drive in an overall careful and prudent manner. Actions that are considered reckless range from excessive speeding to driving while under the influence. Although reckless driving is generally a misdemeanor, it can become a felony depending on the circumstances.

Although the definitions of distracted and reckless driving intertwine, a good test is the level of disregard the person's actions took. The higher the level of disregard for others safety, the more likely it is to be considered reckless.

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