The National Safety Council has designated April “Distracted Driver Awareness Month.” As such, we’re digging into some of the toughest and most relaxed distracted driving laws across the country.
Why should you care?
In 2012, more than 420,000 people were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver. Despite the grizzly numbers, only 12 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have banned all drivers from using handheld cell phones while driving.
In some states, drivers can be ticketed for using their phones and driving without any other offense occurring. In others, a driver has to be pulled over for another violation (like speeding, following too closely, or running a stop sign) in order to be ticketed for cell phone use.
Regardless of the state you live in, tickets and accidents could cost you a pretty penny and negatively impact your driving record. That means you could end up paying more for car insurance and miss out on safe driver discounts. If you have an affordable auto insurance policy, it’s smart to avoid tickets and accidents. So, where does Missouri stand on distracted driving laws?
How does Missouri stack up?
Missouri has a ban on texting and driving only for novice drivers (Missouri defines “novice driver” as a driver age 21 and under). If you get caught texting and driving in Missouri and you’re under the age of 22, you could receive a $200 fine, reports Arrive Alive.
Though Missouri’s laws regarding cell phone use are pretty relaxed compared to states like Texas and Illinois, Missouri has multiple campaigns dedicated to safe driving including “Arrive Alive,” sponsored by the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety, and Missouri’s “Drive to Save Lives” campaign sponsored by the Missouri State Government. “Drive to Save Lives” is a national effort to reduce traffic deaths nationwide by 15% by the end of 2014.
"I’m so used to texting and driving. How do I stop?"
If texting and driving has become a habit, it could take some time to get used to just focusing on the task of driving. While behind the wheel, you’ll need to make a conscious choice to not pick up your phone. You can turn your phone off and stow it in a place that can’t be reached, or you can rely on self-control. Ask your friends and family to keep you accountable as well. Share your no-phone pledge with them and ask them to check-in on you every week.
It won’t be easy, but taking a stand to drive distraction-free is well worth it. You could end up taking advantage of your insurance company’s discount for safe drivers, maintaining the affordable auto insurance policy you already have, and making the road a safer place for everyone.