Mo. bill banning texting, driving awaits Gov. Parson’s signature

Bill could ban texting and driving in Missouri.
Published: Jul. 5, 2023 at 7:11 PM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - The Siddens Bening Hands Free Law is awaiting Missouri Governor Mike Parson’s signature.

This bill would make it illegal for anyone to text and drive in the state of Missouri. Right now, there are only penalties for those under the age of 21.

“I am 100 percent in support of that, I have a 16-year-old that is beginning to drive and obviously it is scary being a parent,” said Amanda Ray, a Missouri driver.

Ray said she welcomes any attempt to reduce distracted driving.

“I think that it is incredibly dangerous--it is proven--and I think that it is a safety hazard for anyone,” Ray said.

State Senator Jason Bean is one of the bill’s sponsors.

“Missouri was one of two states that did not have a texting and driving bill in statute,” Sen. Bean said.

He said it’s clear the change is needed.

“I see so many things on the road and I see so many people texting and driving and near accidents all the time,” Sen. Bean said.

In fact, the Safe Communities Coordinator for the Cape Girardeau Police Department Rachel Penny said too many drivers are watching their phones and not the road.

“Texting and driving crashes are becoming more prevalent even more than drinking and driving, because now everyone knows it’s not okay to drink and drive but they think that texting and driving is just fine,” Penny said.

Sen. Bean said the proposed bill would make texting and driving a secondary offense for all Missouri drivers.

“You’ve got to be speeding or veering off the road or whatever--something else--before they can pull you over for this,” Sen. Bean said. “And we weren’t really happy with that, but that’s the way we were able to pass the bill. Which is also to say that we aren’t done with the bill yet--I think we still have some work to do in the future.”

Gov. Parson has until July 14 to sign the bill into law, but Sen. Bean said he believes it will happen before then.