Report: Missouri struggling to enforce texting-while-driving ban

Many dangerous car accidents that take place on the roads throughout southern Illinois and Missouri are caused by distracted driving. Whether someone is texting and driving, paying attention to the stereo more than the roads, or talking on the phone while driving, many people simply are letting diversions get in the way of driving and it is having terrible effects. In an attempt to curb distracted driving and the injuries it causes, many states have restricted drivers’ rights to use cellphones while driving.

In Missouri, texting while driving has been outlawed for young drivers, but according to a news report law enforcement officers are having trouble enforcing the law. In fact, since the law was enacted in 2009, fewer than four people have received related tickets on average each month. In about half of the state’s counties, no one has been penalized for violating this law.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, six of seven people who were caught breaking the texting-while-driving law were only fined about $20. The seventh driver received a larger fine of $200 after getting into a one-car accident.

While this law might be difficult to enforce, drivers should note that there are penalties for texting-while-driving. Not only can doing this result in fines, but it can cause accidents, injuries and death. And, when people are hurt in an accident cause by a distracted driver, it is possible to hold that person accountable for the related financial damages as well as pain and suffering. Police and investigators are often able to determine whether a driver was distracted or otherwise negligent, and it is possible for victims to hold those drivers accountable with a civil lawsuit.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “Missouri’s texting-while-driving law nabs few violators,” Feb. 25, 2013