Last month, Manchester, Missouri, in west St. Louis County, joined a growing national trend to ban texting by all drivers. Currently, Missouri is one of only a handful of states that continues to allow drivers over the age of 21 to text and drive while banning the same activity for those 21 and younger except in narrowly-defined circumstances like emergencies.
Manchester Police Chief Tim Walsh, a long-time advocate for the ban, said he didn’t understand the logic of prohibiting younger drivers from texting while allowing older adults to engage in the same dangerous behavior. Walsh commented, “I think frankly [the ban] is overdue. We have accidents here everyday and we have distracted drivers everyday. We want to put a stop on that activity.”
If caught texting and driving in Manchester, a driver can face a fine of up to $1,000, and the Court can impose a sentence of up to 90 days jail time. Manchester joins two other St. Louis County municipalities, Florissant and St. John, to extend the texting and driving ban beyond State law requirements.
For the past five years, the National Transportation Safety Board has aggressively pushed to eliminate distracted driving related to texting. Ironically, the federal campaign to ban texting as well as cell phone use while driving gained serious momentum following a fatal August 2010 pileup on Interstate 44 near Gray Summit, Missouri. The National Safety Board investigation of that accident revealed that the driver of the pickup truck responsible for initiating the deadly chain of events had sent or received 11 text messages in the 11 minutes preceding impact. Two wrongful deaths were caused and 38 people were injured as a result.
At least five bills have been filed in the Missouri House for 2014 that seek to toughen Missouri’s distracted driving laws. Given the sobering statistics on the number of traffic accidents and fatalities caused by texting, it’s difficult to conceive why there would be any opposition to banning all Missouri drivers from the practice of texting while driving. Consider these sobering statistics:
- Texting drivers are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash than non-texting drivers.
- The number of people killed in distraction-affected crashes totaled 3,328 in 2012. An additional estimated 421,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver.
- 11% of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted. For drivers 15-19 years old involved in fatal crashes, 21 percent of the distracted drivers were distracted by the use of cell phones.
Driving While Texting Surpasses Driving While Intoxicated as Leading Cause of Death Among Teens
Unfortunately, texting while driving is one of the most common causes of car accidents. In fact, a study by Cohen Children’s Medical Center recently concluded that texting and driving has now surpassed driving while intoxicated as the leading cause of death among teenagers.
As a law firm comprised of Top 100 Trial Lawyers, we are intimately familiar with the all-too-frequent tragic outcomes of such accidents. The physical, emotional and financial toll that these totally preventable collisions exact on the victim and his/her loved ones can be overwhelming, debilitating and endure for a lifetime. If you have been hurt or a loved one has been injured or killed in a car accident that was the result of another person’s distracted driving or deliberate wrongdoing, you need someone who will fight to make sure that you are compensated for the harms and losses you have suffered. You need experienced help. Our team of winning lawyers is standing by to discuss your case. Call us at: 314-409-7060 or 855-40-CRASH (toll free).