Missouri agency sets sights on distracted drivers - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Missouri agency sets sights on distracted drivers

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The Missouri Highway Patrol said distracted drivers were the cause for 25 fatal crashes in the last five months. The Missouri Highway Patrol said distracted drivers were the cause for 25 fatal crashes in the last five months.
CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - The Missouri Department of Insurance is looking to target distracted drivers with its new campaign, "MO Eyes on the Road."

According to the agency, 80 percent of car crashes involve distracted drivers.

The agency hopes to use the campaign to educate teens and parents about the dangers of not paying attention to the road. These distractions include texting, talking on the phone, eating, drinking and grooming.

The Missouri Highway Patrol said they see distracted drivers all the time, specifically people using their cell phones.

"You do see people texting, talking on cell phones, basically doing what they aren't supposed to be doing. If it makes you take your eyes off the road people could stop in front of you because of a traffic stop or they could be turning. And obviously your reaction time is now slower," Sgt. Brad Lively said.

According to the highway patrol, there were 25 fatal crashes caused by distracted drivers between January 1, 2014 and June 1, 2014.

Three of those fatal crashes were because of cell phone usage.

An additional 119 people were injured in car crashes where someone was distracted by a cell phone.

Some drivers admitted to driving and using their phone.

"Every now and then I will send a little text, but nothing too big," Emily Ward said.

Others like Gino Acinelli said he has nearly been hit by drivers not paying attention.

"I've almost had a few close calls when people are talking on their cell phone and not paying attention to the road. I feel like some people should really take the time to pay attention to what's going on around them and be responsible with their phones especially when they're driving," Acinelli said.

There are several phone apps designed to encourage drivers not use their phones while they drive.
  • Spring Dive First will put a drivers phone into driving mode while they are moving. It prevents access to calls, text messages and other alerts.
  • The SafeCell app automatically disables calls, emails and messaging functions when you're traveling at speeds of more than 5 miles per hour.
  • DriveScribe is a little more like a game. Divers can accumulate points that can be redeemed for retail products and discounts for safe driving.
According to the Missouri Department of Insurance teen drivers comprise about 13 percent of inattentive driving fatalities in Missouri.

Click here for a look at the agency's public service announcement targeting distracted driving and for more information about the campaign.

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