Heartland lawmaker proposes bill to crack down on distracted driving

If you are 21 years or older in Missouri, there is not a law against distracted driving, and lawmakers are looking to change that
Published: Feb. 9, 2023 at 10:26 PM CST
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - Some Missouri lawmakers are taking aim at distracted driving by introducing a number of new bills.

If you are 21 years or older in Missouri there is not a law against distracted driving.

One Heartland lawmaker is looking to change that.

State Representative Barry Hovis, of District 146, wishes to put an end to distracted driving.

He believes it’s dangerous and increases the odds of something happening that will have a long-lasting effect.

“I just think if your attention is not on the roadway, and some of the speeds that are travelled especially on roadways and interstates, you have very little time to react if something happens in front of you, and if you’re looking down when someone swerves in front of you or animal swerves in front of you or just something you didn’t see around the curb, it increases your chances of having an accident,” Hovis said.

If the bill Hovis is proposing is passed, it would prohibit hands-on distractions, but allow things like Bluetooth or voice-to-text behind the wheel.

Missouri’s current law on distracted driving, which took effect back in 2013, only restricts drivers 21 years or younger from texting and driving.

The 2013 version also does not discuss the concept of technology that’s hands-free.

If passed, Missouri would leave Montana as the only state without distracted driving laws for all drivers.