Mo. lawmaker looking to stop distracted drivers of all ages

If passed, the new bill will influence all drivers who use handheld devices.
If passed, the new bill will influence all drivers who use handheld devices.(Jeremy J. Ford)
Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 5:47 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 2, 2021 at 5:53 PM CST
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - A Cape Girardeau lawmaker proposed a bill to put a stop to distracted driving.

If passed, the new bill will include all drivers who use handheld devices.

“We need to prohibit all drivers from reading or sending text messages while driving behind the wheel,” said Missouri Representative Wayne Wallingford, who is working to pass a law that stops everyone from using handheld electronic devices while driving.

“Texting and using cell phones behind the wheel, really increases the risk of a crash,” he continued.

He said since 2014, cell phone-related crashes in Missouri have gone up more than 35 percent.

Nearly 2,600 crashes happened in 2017 and nearly 9 in 10 people engage in using a mobile device while driving.

“I know we all do often succumb to the temptation and engage in our cell phones from our driving duties. But texting while driving can kill.”

Jackson Diebold agreed with Senator Wallingford and believes stopping the use of mobile devices while driving is a law should be passed.

“I think it’s a really good idea just to get that off the road,” he said. “A lot of unnecessary accidents are caused by that.”

He said he doesn’t know of anyone personally who has been in an accident while texting but said even he has had close calls.

“I try to tone it down,” he said. “It’s hard sometimes, you know, our generation wants to be on their phone all time. But you must keep your eyes on the road. It’s the best thing for you and for everybody else.”

With advice for those who can’t seem to put their phones down.

“Just think of yourself, think of other people. Anything can happen really. You don’t think that you’re going to hit somebody. You’re just thinking the best-case scenario. And it can change like that in an instant.”

Currently, Montana is the only other state that doesn’t have a distracted driving law for all ages.

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