A Missouri state trooper clocks a motorist driving 115 miles-per-hour in April on eastbound I-44, near Highway 141 in Valley Park (photo courtesy of the Missouri State Highway Patrol)


The Missouri Senate has given the green light to legislation designed to prevent distracted driving. The bill that is headed to the House of Representatives is sponsored by state Sen. Jason Bean, R-Holcomb. The bill bans drivers from physically holding and using their cell phones and other electronic communications devices.

“It enacts a hands free law in Missouri that would apply to all drivers regardless of age, allows people to use the device while driving if it can be used without holding device, can be used with a push of a single button, and doesn’t take the driver’s attention away from the road.”

Missouri and Montana are the only states in the nation who have not banned texting and driving for all drivers. Bean said it’s about improving the safety outcomes for all Missourians.

“We cannot escape the fact that after years of decline, traffic fatalities are increasing at an alarming rate,” said Bean. “Too much, we lose focus on what really matters, but the testimony and outreach for families impacted by those avoidable tragedies have provided a great deal of perspective. On the farm, I worked with some of the toughest, burliest people imaginable, and not one of them possess the courage that I’ve seen from these families and victims, not one.”

Drivers would still be able to use their voice-activated or hands-free functions on their devices, in addition, exemptions would be provided for law enforcement and EMS operators.

State Sen. Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove, opposes the bill. He said that Missouri already has distracted driving laws in place.

“I know personally I’ve been distracted in a number of ways, whether it be reaching for a drink or grabbing something to eat or dropping something on the floor and attempting to pick it up or changing the radio dial, even looking out the windows. I believe that there’s an aspect that we’ve not talked about, I think it’s inferred, is personal responsibility.”

Click here for more information on Senate Bill 56.

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