Missouri lawmakers hope to join the rest of the nation with proposed distracted driving laws for all ages

Montana and Missouri are the only two states in the nation without phones and driving laws for all ages.
Published: Jan. 27, 2023 at 5:54 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 27, 2023 at 6:22 PM CST
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KY3) -Missouri lawmakers are trying again to make distracted driving against the law.

”We only prohibit drivers 21 and younger from texting and driving, it really sends the wrong message to drivers that once you turn a certain age, you can safely multitask behind the wheel,” said Nick Chabarria, a spokesperson for AAA.

AAA of Missouri says the organization is fully behind any bills to ban distracted driving.

“We’ve seen an increase in overall traffic fatalities. Here in the state of Missouri, we’re at the highest point, for statewide fatalities in more than 15 years. So we know that people are driving more recklessly on the roads than ever before, and really part of it is distracted driving,” said Chabarria.

Attorneys do have concerns.

“I guess my concern and the concern of a number of criminal defense lawyers is, that it adds just another reason why a police officer can stop a private citizen, pull them over in their vehicle. Even if they’re not texting and driving, they can still say, well look like you were looking down at your phone,” said Fawzy Simon, a criminal defense attorney.

AAA says studies show when states have laws banning distracted driving then fatalities go down.

”Georgia, for example, passed their hands-free law in 2018. In the first 18 months after that law went into effect, traffic fatalities in Georgia were down 7%,” said Chabarria.

These are the proposed distracted driving bills:

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