The Missouri Department of Transportation’s Buckle Up/Phone Down campaign encourages drivers to wear their seat belts and put down their phones, but the state’s seat belt and texting laws could stand to be stricter. Toward that end, the Missouri Mayors United for Progress recently voted to encourage the state legislature to pass a primary seat belt law and a texting ban for all drivers (Missouri mayors push Buckle Up/Phone Down campaign).
Missouri currently only has a secondary seat belt law, which requires the driver to be stopped for another violation before they can be ticketed for not wearing a seat belt. Approximately 26 percent of the state is covered by primary seat belt ordinances passed by individual cities or counties, which only apply to drivers while within their jurisdiction.
“We should have had this passed several years ago to be applicable statewide,” said Springfield Mayor Ken McClure. “It’s unfortunate, I think, that we have to move as cities at this point in order to do that.”
Missouri law forbids texting by drivers who are under 21 years of age but allows texting by older drivers. Missouri is one of only three states without a prohibition against texting by all drivers.
“To be one of only three states that do not have an all-driver texting ban is embarrassing, and it’s way overdue,” said Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin. “I frankly don’t understand the reasoning behind why we don’t have an all-driver texting ban. I cannot think of one reason why it is ever acceptable or okay for someone to be texting while behind the wheel, and that’s why we’re advocating our legislators so strongly.”
Only nine states rank below Missouri in seat belt use, and texting and driving increase the odds of a car accident by over 50 percent. Stronger seat belt and texting laws would be a step in the right direction toward protecting the safety of Missouri drivers. If you have been injured in a traffic accident, please contact SJB for a free consultation. We only receive a fee in the event of a successful resolution of your case.