KSPR ABC 33: Bill to ban texting while driving in Missouri to be considered

By Frances Watson/Lance Green |
Posted: Mon 11:47 PM, Dec 19, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. One senator wants to outlaw texting while driving in Missouri.

Experts say, if a driver is traveling 55 miles per hour, looking down at a cell phone for even 5 seconds, the car will travel the length of a football field. Not paying attention for even that short amount of time can be dangerous.

“If you pull out in front of me or you hit me, I’m not so worried about the damage you did to my car. I’m worried about if my kid’s okay,” says Abby Rone.

She’s a new mom and considers her cargo to be precious.

“Honestly, when someone is driving, really distracted, it makes me super nervous,” she says.

Rone doesn’t even think about touching her phone while she’s behind the wheel.

“It’s in the diaper bag. That’s where it goes when I get in the car,” she explains.

Not every driver stashes their phone like Rone. It’s why Missouri State Senator, Jill Schupp is trying to get a law passed against texting and driving passed for at least the sixth time.

“Oh come on, we know this is dangerous. How many lives do we have to lose? It is time to make this a law for all drivers,” says Schupp.

She says she’s hopeful this legislative session will be different. Only one legislator didn’t support changing the law in the past.

“His objections either have been addressed or no longer exist so that we might move this forward,” says Schupp.

It’s hard to ignore the statistics. According to the Center For Disease Control, across the country, 8 people die everyday because of distracted driving. This including texting.

Schupp says, “It is common sense legislation and I think it’s time Missouri got on board and said we care about people saving lives.”

Anyone, regardless of age, caught sending, reading or writting electronic messages with their phone would get ticketed for a moving violation. This includes email, instant messages or accessing a website.

Until that happens, Rone hopes drivers will do the right thing on their own.

“Please be aware of everyone else. Think more of just the person you’re texting,” she says.

Drivers may still use their phones with the hands-free voice activated mode.

The ‘no texting while driving’ law won’t apply to a driver who is on their phone while their car is stopped

The legislation will be considered during the next session which begins next month.

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