Missouri defines distracted driving as changing the radio, eating, talking, or texting. According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, 80 percent of accidents involve some type of distracted driving. Yet, Missouri does not have strict laws when it comes to talking on your cell phone or texting while operating a vehicle. Drivers under the age of 21 are not allowed to text and drive. Drivers older than 21 are free to make phone calls and text while they are behind the wheel. However, this does not mean that it is a good idea.
- Under 21 years of age cannot text and drive
- Over 21 years of age, no restrictions
Studies have shown that drivers who text spend up to 400 percent more time with their eyes off the road than if they were not texting. In addition, 50 percent of teenagers say they text while driving. If you do get caught texting and driving as a teenager, there is a $100 fine. If a police officer sees someone under 21 years of age texting while operating a vehicle, they can pull the driver over even if they have not committed any other violation. This may result in a ticket and a fine.
When someone is driving down the road and texting, they take their eyes off of the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. A lot can happen in four and a half seconds, such as an animal running out in front of the vehicle, or a vehicle in front of yours slamming on its brakes or swerving into a different lane. It is important to keep your eyes on the road, no matter what your age is, for your safety and the safety of others.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Cell Phones and Texting: Distracted Driving Laws in Missouri and was authored by Valerie Johnston.