MO drivers could see a change in driving and texting regulations

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JEFFERSON CITY - Lawmakers have five bills working through the legislature right now aimed at ending one dangerous trend - texting while driving.

Missouri Highway Patrol officials say inattention is the single greatest cause of traffic crashes every year, and in Missouri, that number is growing. They also say, although the statistics prove the danger, people still underestimate the harm. 

Missouri Highway Patrol's Lieutenant John Hotz said, "Unfortunately you'll hear a lot of people who say they're good at multitasking and that they can text and drive at the same time and in reality it's impossible to do two tasks at once."

Currently, texting while driving is illegal for drivers under the age of 22. If caught, drivers can be fined $200. 

Some of the changes proposed in the various bills would include increased penalties for texting and driving and an extension of the law, making it applicable to people of all ages.

It's a change MoDOT officials said they consider to be in the right direction. 

Bill Whitfield of the Missouri Highway Safety Program said, "MoDOT is always about safety and we would be supportive of any legislation that's going to make our highway safer."

MoDOT offers a variety of resources on the Missouri Coalition for Roadway safety website