Distracted driving laws vary from state to state, and when you cross that state line you are required to follow their law. Claiming ignorance of the law will not get you out of a citation, so be sure to check on the current laws for any states you may be traveling through before you take your next road trip.
Let’s face it: Missouri is a bit behind the times when it comes to distracted driving laws. Many neighboring states – such as Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Tennessee – have established partial bans on the use of handheld devices. This primarily pertains to active school and work zones. Meanwhile, over in Illinois, all handheld cell phone is prohibited.
Virtually every state surrounding Missouri prohibits text messaging while driving. You have to drive all the way to Montana if you wan to legally text while driving through another state.
Missouri defines distracted driving as “changing the radio, eating, talking, or texting.” There are a number of different ways that drivers can become distracted.
There are three types of driver distraction:
- Visual – Looking at something other than the road like a GPS, checking your hair in the mirror, or looking at your kids in the backseat.
- Manual – Manipulating something other than the steering wheel like eating, smoking, or reaching or an object.
- Cognitive – Thinking about something other than driving like having a conversation with a passenger, going over your shopping list in your head, or daydreaming.
Unfortunately, Missouri has very few laws to prevent distracted driving. And the few they do have focus mostly on texting by younger drivers, leaving other distractions unchecked.
There are no laws that say you cannot eat while driving in this state. But even legal distractions (like eating or adjusting the radio) can significantly increase your risk of being in an accident or driving erratically, so it’s better to avoid it whenever possible. Otherwise, you might find yourself looking at the wrong end of a citation. So unless you are really in a hurry, you are better off eating your Big Mac indoors or in the parking lot.
A citation for distracted driving in Missouri will stick you with a $200 fine and add points against your driver’s license. Of course, as the law currently stands, the only people who can violate it are those under 21 and drivers of commercial vehicles.
Distracted driving is considered a moving violation in Missouri and that means it will add points against your driving record. For that reason, your car insurance company will be made aware of the infraction.
If you have been involved in an accident resulting from a distracted driver, KNOW WHAT TO DO, Call Tad today for a free consultation. 417-865-4400