March 16, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Missouri bill would ban texting while driving, with few exceptions
Article provided by Robert J. Albair, P.C.
Visit us at http://www.robertalbairlaw.com/
Not so long ago, the only form of distracted driving that motorists had to worry about was other drivers changing the radio station while speeding along the highway. How times have changed! Now, in the age of the smartphone, people can stay in contact with each other and access a library of information in a split second.
A negative side effect of this connectivity is that social norms have evolved with the technology. Now bosses, colleagues and friends expect a response to their text messages within minutes, rather than hours. Because of these changes, many drivers find themselves unable (or at least unwilling) to temporarily disconnect themselves from the world of instant messaging and Facebook posts.
Since it seems that motorists will not cure themselves of their texting addiction, many states stepped in to criminalize such behavior, attempting to reduce the risk of car accidents that distracted driving causes. For example, in Missouri, it is illegal for drivers under the age of 21 to send, read or write a text message or electronic message while operating a moving motor vehicle. However, one state representative thinks that the law does not go far enough and wants to change it.
For this reason, State Rep. Michele Kratky has introduced a bill, House Bill 394, which would ban texting and driving for all drivers, not just those who are under 21. The ban applies to using hand-held devices used to send, read or write a text message. However, the bill would allow drivers to text by using a hands-free device that uses voice recognition.
In addition to hands-free devices, if passed, the bill would allow texting (hand-held or hands-free) if the vehicle is lawfully stopped or parked or if the driver is a law enforcement officer who is performing his or her duties. Violation of the ban would constitute a moving violation infraction and points would be assessed on the driver's license.
If the new law passes, the criminal liability would be relatively minor. However, the law would not affect the civil liability of distracted drivers who injure others. Missouri law imposes a duty on all drivers to operate their vehicles in a manner that does not subject other drivers to an unreasonable risk of harm. If a driver does not meet this duty, by texting while driving for example, the law considers him or her to be negligent.
Drivers who are injured in car accidents caused by another driver's negligence are legally entitled to seek compensation for damages such as medical bills, pain and suffering and lost wages. If you or a loved one is injured by a careless or inattentive driver, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to learn more about your right to compensation.---
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