Missouri state senator to refile texting and driving ban

4 years 11 months 4 weeks ago Friday, July 03 2015 Jul 3, 2015 Friday, July 03, 2015 11:50:00 AM CDT July 03, 2015 in News
By: Blair Ussary, KOMU 8 Reporter

JEFFERSON CITY - A Missouri state senator will refile a bill to ban all drivers from texting and driving.

Missouri State Senator Jill Schupp was just a freshman legislator when the original bill to ban drivers 21 years and younger from texting and driving. 

"I remember looking at it and thinking, 'Why is it just for people 21 years and younger?'" Schupp said, "Why wasn't it for all drivers?"

But since she could not get recognized on the House floor, Schupp decided she would file a bill to ban texting and driving, no matter your age.

"I find it almost ironic that we are banning just the kids 21 years and younger," Schupp said. "We're banning the people who are more experienced texting, but allowing the older adults who are less experienced with it to text and drive."

"Obviously, texting and driving is bad no matter what your age is," Missouri State Highway Patrolman Scott White said. "We see a variety of crashes involving cell phones, and it's not really one specific age group."

According to the Missouri Statewide Traffic Accident records, there were 1,442 crashes involving cell phones last year. Out of those 1,442 crashes, 960 resulted in property damage, 467 incidents had personal injuries and 15 incidents had fatalities.

"Missouri has one of the weakest texting and driving laws in the country," Schupp said. "I wanted to strenghten up our laws."

But when it came time for the bill to be heard on the House floor, it never came about. 

"The chair of the committee it was on decided there were other bills that were more important," Schupp said.

The chair of the Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety committe, Doug Libla, could not be reached for comment, but Schupp said she understood there are always bills that need its time on the floor.

Schupp said she will refile the bill for the next year.  

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