According to Missouri State Highway Patrol, driver inattention was a contributing factor in 22,491 traffic crashes in 2012. In that same time, there were 357 crashes where texting while driving was a contributing factor. These statistics are the reason that many states have put in place distracted driving laws. Make sure you know what your state’s laws on distracted driving are:
Phone Calls While Driving
Taking a call while driving isn’t illegal in Missouri, but keep in mind that even talking on your phone can be a distraction. Of the 22,491 traffic crashes in 2012 in Missouri that were attributed to driver inattention, there were 8,952 injuries and 92 people killed (Missouri State Highway Patrol). If you must take a call, here are some options that are safer talking with driving:
- Pull over. This might not be the most convenient, but this way you can give the caller your full attention and give the road your full attention when you are done.
- Invest in a hands-free device. These days, hands-free devices are fairly inexpensive and can keep you from trying to locate your cell phone while driving.
- Put your phone on silent. This also may not be convenient, but it will reduce the temptation to answer the phone when it rings. There are even apps that will tell the person calling that you are driving.
Texting While Driving
Attention Missouri drivers 21 and under: it is illegal for you to text while driving. This means any form of electronic communication using your cell phone while driving will be considered illegal and will result in a fine. While it is not illegal for drivers over the age of 21 to text while driving, keep in mind that texting drivers spend up to 400% more time with their eyes off the road. Also, of the 357 crashes where text while driving was cited as a contributing cause in Missouri in 2012, 108 resulted in injury and two resulted in death.
If you are under the age of 22 and caught texting while driving, you will pay a fine of $200 (savemolives.com).
$200 may not seem like a lot, but might need to consider what else you are risking. Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is getting involved and taking a stand against distracted driving:
Whatever the reason for your drive, the safety of yourself and others should be your first priority. If you’d like more information on distracted driving and how to prevent it, visit here: