During the last several years, distracted driving has become one of the most pressing concerns for traffic safety officials. The proliferation of mobile device technology has certainly brought this issue to the forefront.

In order to address this problem, many states have banned texting and driving. At this point, Missouri is among the states that do not have an outright ban on texting behind the wheel. Only drivers under the age of 21 face this restriction.

Missouri’s texting-and-driving law reflects the idea that younger drivers are more likely to engage in this distracting behavior behind the wheel. We have addressed this issue in an article on our firm’s website. A study cited in this article specifies that younger drivers are twice as likely to become distracted behind the wheel when compared to their older counterparts. Not surprisingly, cell phone use was among the most common sources of distraction found in the study.

One tactic to address this overwhelming concern is a campaign launched by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association. The federal agency will be airing a series of advertisements aimed at showing the dangers of distracted driving. Pairing these ads with ramped up law enforcement efforts is shown to be effective in reducing distracted driving, according to NHTSA research.

Of course, law enforcement efforts in Missouri aimed at texting and driving are really limited to younger drivers. Even though a driver who is 21 or older might decide to text, police cannot issue a ticket.

Although nationwide distracted driving awareness efforts are welcome, the responsibility to drive safely is ultimately an individual responsibility. Drivers have a duty to act with caution and care behind the wheel, which means they shouldn’t become intentionally distracted — no matter how texting-and-driving laws apply to their specific situation.

Source: KFVS News, “New ads to discourage texting and driving,” Christy Millweard, April 3, 2014

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