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Texting While Driving in Missouri

Whether allowable by Missouri state law or not, be safe and put the phone down while driving.

Missouri has become the 49th state to ban texting while driving for at least a category of drivers. Keep in in mind that while it’s not a full-out ban, distracted driving safety is a practice that is taught and strongly recommended regardless of where you drive.

In Missouri, drivers 21 years old and younger are not allowed to text while driving. Drivers over age 21 can text while driving, and there is no ban on any other form of using a cell phone while driving for any age group or category of drivers in Missouri. The other 48 states that have a ban on texting while driving have banned it for drivers of all ages, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Fifteen states ban cell phone use in any way, shape or form for drivers.

A police officer in Missouri can stop a driver who is 21 and under and is suspected of texting and driving. The driver does not need to commit any other traffic violation to be pulled over. The fine for a driver 21 and under for texting while driving is $200 and two points are taken off the driver’s license. While it is difficult to draw a direct line between texting and driving and accidents caused by inattention from texting and driving, in 2017 there were a reported 2,600 crashes in Missouri that involved cell phone use. This number is from drivers who admitted to using their cell phones right before the crash. It does not represent the number of drivers who used their cell phone right before a crash but did not admit to it.

It is important to understand that the driver of a vehicle is responsible for everything that happens with that vehicle. Consequences of distracted driving, no matter the cause of the distraction, are the responsibility of the driver. As a driver, it’s never advisable to take your eyes off the road. Two seconds of not paying attention to the road while driving 35 mph means you’ve driven more than 100 feet.

As there is no realistic method to determine age, police officers can’t know for certain until engaging a driver in a traffic stop. In other words, if a law enforcement officer suspects a driver of using a cell phone and there is a possibility that the said driver could be 21 and under, the officer can pull that driver over. It’s just best not to text unless you want to run the risk of being pulled over and delaying your drive.

Missouri Driving School teaches safety, confidence and responsible driving. We strongly suggest refraining from using a cell phone while driving, and we do not allow cell phone use during driving lessons. Contact us to learn more about the private driving lessons we offer and our record of teaching safe practices while driving.

Disclaimer: This content, any information herein, and references to statistics, statutes or legislation should not be construed as legal advice nor reflect current Missouri/municipal laws. Texting and driving in certain municipalities, even if permitted, is not only dangerous but may also result in citations for drivers of any age.