Texting and driving is illegal in Missouri, but current laws are aimed at teenagers and novice drivers. According to a recent Washington Post article, many additional lives may be saved if the ban were expanded to allow police to pull over any driver—any time—if he sees the driver texting.
Studies Suggest That Stiffer Texting Laws Could Save More Lives
The Post article examines the results of a study published in the August issue of the American Journal of Public Health. The study sees a positive trend in the effectiveness of texting bans, but sees room for improvement in many states:
- Combined efforts. States that have a texting ban in effect have seen a 2.3 percent decline in fatal accidents caused by distracted driving; however, states with targeted enforcement have seen over a 10 percent drop in crash deaths.
- Primary laws matter. States such as Missouri that have a primary law ban are more effective than others in preventing deaths. Under a primary law, an officer can pull a teenaged texter over with no other cause for the stop, saving an average of 19 lives each year.
- Handheld bans. In addition to texting, states that banned use of any handheld devices prevented additional dangerous behavior that may not have been subject to the texting ban, particularly among drivers between the ages of 22 and 64.
The study’s results only reinforce what many drivers already know: a distraction can change a life in an instant—and in the worst cases, it can end one. Make a pledge to put your cell phone away when you get behind the wheel, and share this article on Facebook to encourage your friends and family to do the same.
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