A Businessman Holding a Cellphone and Texting While DrivingDespite a nationwide awareness campaign about the dangers of distracted driving, there are still a handful of states that have not banned texting and driving for all drivers—including Missouri.

Recent studies have concluded that as many as one in four motor vehicle crashes likely involved the use of a cell phone by a driver. Whether the practice is illegal or not, it is undeniably dangerous and should be avoided by all drivers.

When you or a family member is the victim of a car or truck crash, chances are distracted driving was a contributing factor and that is grounds for taking legal action against the at-fault driver.

Recent Statistics on Texting and Driving

By now, everyone should know that it is dangerous to take your eyes off the road to read or send a text while you are driving. In fact, drivers are 23 times more likely to crash if they are texting than if they are not. Despite this knowledge, however, this practice occurs with alarming regularity. The following numbers demonstrate just how prevalent texting and driving is:

  • 341,000 motor vehicle crashes in 2013 involved texting.
  • Nine Americans are killed each day as a result of distracted driving, including texting, talking on a cell phone, or eating.
  • 40 percent of teenage drivers say they have been a passenger in a car when the driver texted or used a cell phone in a distracting way.
  • 33 percent of drivers aged 18–64 admit to having sent or read a text message while driving in the previous month.
  • 11 percent of drivers aged 18–20 who survived a car crash admitted they had been texting at the time of the accident.

Kansas Cracks Down on Texting and Driving

Laws governing the use of cell phones by drivers differ from state to state. Obviously, it is never safe to use a handheld device while driving, whether it is legal or not, but the laws of the state where an accident occurs could come into play when pursuing legal action against an at-fault driver. Kansas is one of 47 states to completely ban texting and driving for all drivers. Other components of Kansas law include:

  • There is no ban on talking on a handheld phone for licensed drivers.
  • Holders of learner’s permits or intermediate licenses are prohibited from using handheld or hands-free phones while driving.
  • All drivers are prohibited from writing, sending, or reading a written communication on any form of a wireless communication device.
  • Hands-free texting is legal for fully-licensed drivers.
  • The texting ban in enforced as a primary offense, meaning a violator can be pulled over and ticketed if a police officer witnesses the action.

Missouri Has Yet to Follow Suit

Along with Arizona, Montana, and Texas, Missouri does not have a law banning texting by all drivers. Missouri does, however, place restrictions on younger drivers. Aspects of Missouri law include:

  • No ban on handheld cell phone use for any driver.
  • Texting while driving is prohibited for all drivers under the age of 22.
  • For drivers aged 21 or under, texting while driving is a primary offense.

Something You Should Do On Your Phone Before Driving Again

If you are ever badly hurt in a Kansas City car wreck, how would emergency responders contact your family if you could not communicate?

The answer is simple, and you can do it right now.  Save an In Case of Emergency (ICE) contact in your cell phone.  This will allow first responders to get in touch with your loved ones or friends who are aware of any existing medical condition, allergies, or medication you might need.  This information could potentially save your life, and it takes only a few minutes to ensure that your medical information can be communicated to emergency responders.

If you are allergic to certain medicines, diabetic, or taking heart medicine, it is essential for paramedics, firefighters, and police officers to know this information if you are seriously injured in a Kansas City car crash.

There are four main points to know when using the ICE system

  1. Talk to your ICE contact and make sure they know that they are your emergency contact.  Now they will be prepared if an emergency responder calls and needs medical information.
  2. Make sure that your ICE contact knows important medical and contact information about you.  They should know your full name, date of birth, address, blood type, and any other important medical information.
  3. If you want to be extra cautious, you can have more than one ICE contact.  Just label them as ICE2, ICE3, etc.
  4. The ICE system is not foolproof.  Your phone could be damaged in a crash or you could have a password on your phone.  You can include your ICE contact information and details about yourself on a card in your wallet or in your glove compartment

It is important to be prepared for a car accident.  Using the ICE system is only one way you can be ready if you get into a wreck.  Take a look at the Car Safety Checklist to make sure you are as prepared as possible.

You should also order a free copy of Don't Wreck Your Injury Claim,  which will provide valuable information on the steps you should take if you find yourself injured in a motor vehicle crash.

Have You Been Injured In A Kansas City Area Car Accident?

If you've been injured in a car accident you need to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free consultation.

 

James Roswold
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James Roswold is a Kansas & Missouri personal injury, workers comp, and medical malpractice attorney.
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