Distracted Driving Bill: AAA ready for action

As Missouri lawmakers look to outlaw distracted driving in the Show Me State, a spokesperson for AAA tells us the travel group is behind the cause
Published: Feb. 10, 2023 at 10:27 PM CST
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - “AAA is in full support of hands-free legislation,” said AAA spokesperson Nick Chabarria.

Hands-free means it would prohibit hands-on distractions, but allow technology through your car like Bluetooth or voice-to-text behind the wheel.

Some Missourians 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. Chabarria wants to see that change.

“We of course have laws on the books it’s not okay to drive drunk, we don’t have a law in the books that says it’s not okay to be while you’re on your phone while you’re behind the wheel,” said Chabarria.

Missouri’s current law on distracted driving, which took effect back in 2013, only restricts drivers 21 years or younger which only covers texting. However, it doesn’t effect drivers older than 21.

“It seems like common sense to help save lives and reduce these fatalities. You know I guess the counter argument that we hear from some law makers is it’s my vehicle, I should be able to do what I want in it and it’s hard to really give that argument any merit when you look at the statistics,” said Chabarria.

According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, distracted driving is a leading cause of crashes in Missouri and the United States.

They say nearly 9 out of every 10 drivers admits to engaging with their phone while behind the wheel. Sgt. Clark Parrott with the Missouri Highway patrol said that it comes down to people being responsible.

“I think anything we can do to make our roadways safer is definitely going to be an advantage, but I also think people need to take personal responsibility,” said Parrott.

He said there isn’t a law for people over the age of 21, but there are still some laws they can use to get distracted drivers off the road.

“We have some laws we can use right now, failure to drive on the right, failure to maintain a single lane. From there we send our reports to the prosecutor and let it go from there,” said Parrott.