The state senate is moving to make the shoulders of our major highways safer.

You don’t have to travel very far on our major highways, especially the intestates, to see vehicles abandoned on the shoulder. Some of them are there for days.

The Senate has advanced Bill Stouffer’s bill that lets authorities have those cars and trucks towed after ten hours on the roadside. That’s the standard in urban areas. But in rural areas, the vehicle is not considered abandoned for 48 hours.

Stouffer wants the urban standard applied to rural interstates….that carry 80 percent of Missouri’s traffic. He might allow more time on country roads but not for the interstates. He says the high traffic areas, particularly the interstates, need the ten-hour limit. "We’re killing people we shouldn’t be killing," he says. Stouffer says there have been 158 crashes with abandoned vehicles on the shoulders of Interstate 70 in the last four years. Five people have died. On Interstate 44, there have been 156 crashes and eight fatalities.

An effort to add a ban on texting while driving was ruled out of order during debate. But that issue could come back in other legislation later.

The senate is expected to sent Stouffer’s bill to the House this week.

Download Bob Priddy’s story (:62 mp3)