MoDOT calling for stricter law on cell phone use while driving

MoDOT calling for stricter law on cell phone use while driving
Published: Dec. 8, 2016 at 1:36 AM CST|Updated: Dec. 8, 2016 at 3:02 AM CST
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - The Missouri Department of Transportation is creating a proposal that would make it illegal for drivers in the state to use cell phones while driving, according to a department spokesperson.

MoDOT and the Missouri Highway Transportation Commission, the department's governing body, reports its annual legislative agenda will include a measure suggesting lawmakers amend a current state law regarding cell phone use while driving.

As it stands, only drivers under the age of 21 are prohibited from texting and driving.

But MoDOT senior government relations specialist Lisa LeMaster said the department wants to expand that to include any usage of hand-held devices for drivers of all ages.

"How could you tell whether someone was actually texting or if they playing a video game or if they were surfing the internet," LeMaster said. "So going hands free completely eliminates that guess."

MoDOT already prohibits its employees from using cells phones while on the road.

Missouri State Highway Patrol data shows 2,234 accidents in 2015 were caused by distracted drivers.

In addition, over the last years, 10 percent of deadly crashes in the state involved a distracted driver.

Officials with MoDOT say they are working with lawmakers to find a sponsor for the proposal.

Legislatures will reconvene in Jefferson City on January 4.

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