Texting and driving is a dangerous combination that can lead to severe consequences. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), texting is the most alarming distraction for drivers. Reading or sending a text takes your eyes off the road for at least 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that's like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed. Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of crashing.
Missouri's Current Texting and Driving Laws
Missouri law prohibits drivers 21 and under from texting while driving. It comes with a $200 fine and two points against the driver's license. Existing law also prohibits all commercial drivers from using a hand-held communication device, including sending, reading, or writing a text.
In Missouri, a conviction for texting and driving can increase your insurance premiums. Insurance companies may also drop you as a customer if you are convicted of texting and driving. Several insurance companies offer apps that monitor distracted driving and reward good driving with sizable discounts to encourage drivers to put their phones away when behind the wheel and pay attention to the road.
You may be held liable for any damages or injuries incurred if you are involved in an accident while texting and driving. Missouri has a fault-based insurance system, which means the party that caused the car accident is responsible for paying any damages that result. In Missouri, negligence is "the failure to exercise reasonable care to prevent harm to someone else on the road." If you are found to be negligent because you were texting while driving, you can be held liable for injuries or deaths even if using your cell phone did not violate any current laws.
The Costs of Texting and Driving Are Numerous
Texting and driving can be costly, with legal, insurance, and civil consequences. It is important to remember that texting while driving is illegal for those under 22 and commercial drivers in Missouri. All drivers can be held accountable for injuries or deaths when they have been negligent. The financial cost is nothing compared to the mental anguish of being responsible for an accident that caused severe injuries or, worse, a fatality.
Ten Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is dangerous. The NHTSA reported 3,142 deaths resulting from distracted driving in 2020. The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) has shared the following tips for avoiding distracted driving:
Turn it off and stow it. Turn your phone off or switch it to silent mode before entering the car. Then stow it out of sight and out of reach.
Spread the word. Record a message on your phone that tells callers you're driving and will get back to them when you're off the road, or enable this feature on your phone.
Pull over. Pull over to a safe area if you need to answer the phone or make a call.
Use your passengers. Ask a passenger to make the call, answer the phone, or respond to a text for you.
Don't text. Never text and drive, surf the web or read your email while driving. It's dangerous even if it's not always against the law in Missouri.
Know the law. Keep in mind that every state has different laws regarding distracted driving. Familiarize yourself with the laws in each state you plan to drive through.
Prepare. If using your phone for GPS or listening, get everything ready before you begin driving. If you prefer a map or written directions, review them in advance.
Secure your pets. Unsecured pets can be a big distraction in the car. Make sure they are secured to protect them and you.
Mind the kids. Pull over to a safe place to address situations involving children in the car.
Focus on driving. Multi-tasking behind the wheel is dangerous. Refrain from eating, drinking, reading, grooming, smoking, and any other activity that takes your mind and eyes off the road.
Why Hire An Attorney?
There are many benefits to working with an attorney when you're trying to navigate a legal situation in St. Charles County. Whether it's a speeding ticket, a DUI, or any other type of ticket, an experienced traffic law attorney can help. At St. Louis Traffic Ticket Fix, we focus on helping our clients resolve traffic issues in a timely and beneficial manner. We'll take the time to thoroughly understand your situation so we can offer the right solutions. Our priority is to help you protect your rights. We work with clients in St. Charles, Lincoln, Warren, and St. Louis Counties.
At St. Louis Traffic Fix, we aim to remove the stress from working with a traffic lawyer in St. Charles County. Our rates are affordable, and we want you to have a positive experience working with us. Give our office a call at 636-685-0440 to schedule a consultation.