A western Missouri state lawmaker who unsuccessfully pushed for a ban on texting while driving is disappointed his bill didn’t pass.
Missouri law currently prohibits drivers 21 and younger from using hand-hand cell phones to send, read or write text messages. State Senator David Pearce (R-Warrensburg) sponsored a bill this year that would have applied the ban to all motorists. The bill failed.
“Missouri is only one of four states that doesn’t ban texting and driving, and it’s a huge safety issue,” Pearce says.
The veteran lawmaker is leaving the General Assembly in December, because of term limits. Pearce is hopeful another lawmaker will pick up his bill to ban texting while driving for all motorists. While his 2016 bill failed, Pearce tells Missourinet it had some broad support.
“Well, insurance companies, the cell phone companies were very, very much in support of that, and of course, law enforcement. You know, you look at those folks and they deal with it everyday through the financial aspects, or worse the crashes and the deaths and the injuries that we have,” Pearce says.
Pearce says while concerns about the definition of texting impacted this year’s bill, those concerns can be addressed.
“But I think that we can come up with language that makes it very specific, so there’s nothing arbitrary about it so you know what texting is and what it isn’t when it comes to enforcing that,” Pearce says.
Under current state law, commercial motor vehicle drivers are also prohibited from using hand-held cell phones to text.
Pearce, who’s in his 14th year in the Legislature, represents eight counties in the Senate: Caldwell, Carroll, Howard, Johnson, Lafayette, Livingston, Ray and Saline.