Mo. — One local Missouri lawmaker is working to change the law that allows people over the age of 21 to text and drive.
Rep. David Evans (R-Howell County) pre-filed a bill that would ban texting and driving for all ages.
“This bill would remove that language and anyone operating a motor vehicle on the roadways of the state cannot text and drive at the same time,” Rep. Evans said.
He says he pre-filed the bill because some in his district asked for it after being injured in texting and driving accidents.
“I just took after their call and their cry to improve the law in this regard,” Evans said.
Though hundreds of bills are filed during each session, Evans says he is confident this one will go far.
“If you don’t file a bill early, get the attention of the right committees, get senators interested in reviewing, it’s very difficult to get legislation passed,” Evans said. “I’ve got high hopes.”
But Evans isn’t the only one hoping distracted driving will diminish. Cindy Dunnaway, with MoDOT, says they’re usually supportive of any bill that makes Missouri roadways safer.
“Any movement that could come with texting laws would be a great stride,” Dunnaway said. “Missouri is one of two states that are left with no form of texting ban for all drivers.”
She says distracted driving may not just be texting, it could also be entering information on your GPS or talking on the phone.
“Everybody feels that right now they have to be so connected with their friends and their family,” Dunnaway said. “People are using their phones more and more. We’ve seen a trend as phone usage has increased over the past few years, it’s kind of in line with the number of fatalities that we’re seeing on Missouri roadways.”
Dunnaway says using Bluetooth or hands-free devices could help with texting and driving but also says it could still distract drivers if they aren’t careful.