Driving While Using Your Cell Phone in St. Louis, Missouri

Cell phones are a major driver distraction. It is a growing concern across the United States and in St. Louis. Missouri recently implemented laws to curb cell phone use while driving. 

Understanding Missouri’s Laws

Starting Monday, August 28, Missouri began enforcing the Siddens Bening Hands-Free Law. The law makes using handheld electronic communication devices while driving illegal. The law responds to the state’s alarming trend of distracted driving crashes.

Between 2012 and 2021, Missouri had about 200,000 distracted driving-related crashes. These car accidents resulted in at least 801 deaths. Cell phone use is a major contributor to these accidents and is often underreported. 

In Missouri, the penalties for texting while driving can vary. A first offense for texting while driving after August 28, 2023, can result in a fine. 

While the new law becomes effective in 2023, the enforcement of penalties is deferred until 2025. During the interim period, drivers will receive warnings.

From 2025 onwards, a first-time violation will carry a fine of up to $150, which can escalate to $500 for more infractions within two years. Later violations may lead to further penalties.

Impact on Insurance Premiums

It’s important to avoid using your cell phone while driving because it can impact your insurance premiums

Insurance companies consider many factors when computing your rates. A record of distracted driving can result in higher costs. Insurance providers perceive distracted drivers as more risky. This perception can lead to gradually increasing premiums over time.

Tips for Preventing Distracted Driving Accidents

Distracted driving accidents are preventable. Adopting safer habits behind the wheel can make a notable difference. Here are some actionable tips to avoid the negative outcomes of driving while using your cell phone:

1. Turn Off Notifications 

Silencing your phone or muting distractions is a good idea before you start driving. This act is a simple yet effective way to reduce the temptation to use your cell phone. You can stay more engaged with driving by eliminating the audible and visual notifications.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claims that sending or receiving a text can take your eyes off the road for about five seconds. At 55 mph, being distracted for five seconds is like driving a full city block without looking.

2. Embrace Hands-Free Solutions

Consider using hands-free devices or voice commands to communicate while driving. This way, you can keep your hands on the wheel and your focus on the road ahead.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety writes that accidents are two to six times greater when a cell phone is a distraction. Using a hands-free device is not without risks but may be a safer alternative.

3. Pull Over Safely

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention specifies three categories of distracted driving:

  1. Visual distractions divert your attention from the road by taking your eyes off it. These can include looking at billboards, using a GPS, or observing vehicles around you instead of focusing on the road ahead. 
  2. Manual distractions involve taking your hands off the steering wheel, encompassing actions such as texting, eating, or changing the radio station. 
  3. Cognitive distractions distract your mind from driving, including singing, talking, or daydreaming.

When you glance at your phone, type out a message, or engage in a call, you experience all three types of distraction. A visual distraction as your eyes leave the road, manual distraction as you manipulate the device, and cognitive distraction as your thoughts focus on communication rather than driving. 

Be safe when you need to call, text, or perform any other task requiring your attention. Find a secure place to pull over and park your vehicle. This allows you to address your phone without endangering yourself and others on the road.

4. Designated Texter

If traveling with passengers, consider designating a passenger as the “texter.” This person can handle your communication tasks, allowing you to focus on driving without distractions.

The Importance of Prioritizing Road Safety

Knowing the consequences of using your cell phone while driving promotes road safety. Implementing these tips and avoiding distractions can help create a safer driving environment. Every responsible driver plays a vital role in reducing accidents and ensuring the well-being of all road users.

Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm For Help Today

For more information, please contact Bradley Law Personal Injury Lawyers at your nearest location to schedule a free case evaluation today.

St. Louis Office
1430 Washington Ave Suite #226 St. Louis, MO 63103
(314) 400-0000

Kansas City Office
1509 NE Parvin Rd, Suite A., Kansas City, MO 64116

Richmond Heights Office
1201 Bellevue Ave,Richmond Heights, MO 63117
(314) 207-4399

Or if you would prefer to reach out to us online, please visit our contact us page.