The Missouri House recently approved a bill that would ban texting for nearly all drivers. Currently, texting while driving is only banned for drivers 21 and younger. The bill has moved to the Missouri Senate.
The proposed law would allow drivers to use voice-recognition software to create texts, but they would not be able to make contact with their handheld devices while driving. Emergency vehicles, drivers who are experiencing or witnessing an emergency, and certain professional drivers would be exempt from the ban.
Distracted Driving: Serious Threat to Missouri Drivers, Cyclists and Pedestrians
The public safety bill addresses an ongoing concern about driver inattention. In Missouri and across the nation, distracted driving is a significant contributor to deadly car accidents.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving was a factor in 20 percent of crashes in 2009. Drivers who use handheld devices are four times as likely to be in crashes that injure them. In addition, 18 percent of the distracted-driving crashes that caused a death involved cell phone use.
Clearly, distracted driving is an issue that Missouri lawmakers should be addressing.
Civil Liability: Negligent Drivers' Liability for Missouri Distracted Driving Accidents
Whether or not texting while driving is illegal in Missouri, a negligent driver is still responsible for his or her actions.
A driver who becomes distracted and causes a motor vehicle accident may be held liable for the damages that result. In civil court, those damages are measured in financial terms, and they compensate victims for things like pain and suffering, medical bills and lost wages.
With the Missouri legislative session ending soon, many will be watching the fate of the distracted driving bill.
Source: KAIT8.com, "Mo. Lawmakers advance texting-while-driving ban" May 8, 2011.