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The Number One Thing St. Louis Drivers Should Avoid

The Number One Thing St. Louis Drivers Should Avoid

Missouri’s Texting and Driving Laws

As one of the only states to single out a specific age group for texting and driving infractions, Missouri is one of a handful of states that enforces a hands-free law for drivers under 21. However, this law, established in 2019, leaves Missouri as one of two states without a complete ban on texting while driving.

This law would lead some to assume that the issue lies solely with young drivers, however research suggests that this may not be the case.

Are Young Drivers the Problem?

From 2005 to 2014, the Missouri State Highway Patrol kept a record of crashes involving young drivers - defined as those under the age of 21. While there was a significant decrease in the number of injury and fatal crashes over this timespan (39.6% and 58% respectively), there is not enough evidence - or recorded data - to suggest that texting and driving had a significant impact on these numbers.

However, according to the Missouri Department of Transportation, it was directly following this timespan that texting and driving crashes began to see a surge. From 2014 to 2019, cell phone-related crashes had increased by nearly 31%. But contrary to what this new law would suggest, nearly 70% of these crashes involved a driver who is 22 or older. This means that this issue pertains to each individual who gets behind the wheel, not just those under 21.

The Truth About Texting and Driving

The National Safety Council estimates that over 1.6 million car accidents are caused by texting and driving each year. This means that one in four car accidents are entirely preventable. In addition to this point, there are several other reasons why Missouri drivers should avoid texting while driving:

  • In the five seconds it takes you to look at your phone, your car (at 55 mph) will have traveled the length of a football field.
  • Nearly 400,000 injuries are caused by texting and driving accidents each year.
  • Missouri is one of the top 15 states for fatal accidents in the country.
  • According to the CDC, the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States is car accidents.
  • Virginia Tech Transportation Institute research shows that you are six times more likely to die from texting and driving than driving under the influence.

Texting and driving - or using any kind of electronic device behind the wheel - is undoubtedly one of the most dangerous things you can do on the roads. To combat this nationwide issue, states are launching action plans to encourage better behavior from motorists.

Missouri’s Buckle Up Phone Down Challenge

In response to the growing concern, the Missouri Department of Transportation initiated what they call the “Buckle Up Phone Down” (BUPD) Challenge in 2017, that has since gained national attention and was a major driving force behind the new law. The purpose of this initiative is to encourage all drivers to practice these behaviors behind the wheel, since not wearing seatbelts and distracted driving are two of the major causes of accident fatalities. As of early 2021, there are 17 states and counting that have either adopted this challenge or expressed interest in implementing it.

While some accidents are inevitable, it is the job of every motorist to do what they can to prevent unnecessary crashes, and that includes hanging up the phone when behind the wheel.

Car Accident? We Can Help

At Kolker & Labovitz we have a vested interest in keeping Missouri roads safer for all. Our firm has a proven track record of multi-million dollar wins and will work with you to achieve maximum compensation for your unique case. If you or a loved one sustained an injury in a car accident, contact our firm today by calling (314) 684-8285 to schedule an appointment.

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