We favor a bill proposed by Republican Sen. Bob Dixon that would put a blanket ban on using devices like cellphones and GPS receivers while driving.
Current state law only prohibits drivers under 21 from texting and driving. Other drivers follow Missouri’s more vague distracted driving law by driving in a “careful and prudent manner.” But that law doesn’t have any explicit language on texting.
Missouri is currently one of only three states that don’t explicitly ban texting for all drivers.
Would it be inconvenient not to be able to text while driving — yes. But to think that only teen drivers are distracted by texting while driving is foolish. Many of us are guilty of this even though we know it’s dangerous.
We’ve all seen the commercials. A driver takes his or her eyes off the road to read a text message, three seconds, maybe four . . . and suddenly the driver’s life is changed forever by a horrific accident.
These advertisements are very hard to watch. No one wants to think about being responsible for a traffic accident that takes his or her own life or the lives of other motorists or pedestrians.
Nevertheless, most of us — not just teens — still use our cellphones while driving. Reading or sending a text or email takes both eyes off of the road, your mind off the task of driving, and sometimes both hands off the wheel.
Maybe a total ban would cause at least some people to truly change their habits.
Is a text message that reads “OK” worth a fine and possibly a bump in your insurance rate if you receive a citation? More importantly, is it worth endangering your passengers, most likely a loved one?
Nine Americans are killed every day in accidents that involve a driver who was distracted by some other activity — like using a cellphone or eating, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The bill proposed in Missouri by Republican Sen. Bob Dixon was heard Thursday by the Senate Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety Committee. We don’t know if it will go anywhere this year in the Legislature, but it should.