An Associated Press article in the St. Louis Post Dispatch notes that the Missouri law prohibiting young drivers from texting and driving remains difficult to enforce. The article citing a Columbia Missourian article reports that less than four drivers a month receive citations for these traffic violations.
The article reports that the Missouri texting and driving laws are some of the most lenient in the country and remain difficult to enforce.
The enforcement of the prohibition against texting and driving is probably more difficult in practice than plan due to the design of many smartphones. From the outside of a car, it is not easy to differentiate whether a driver is dialing a number on a phone or texting a friend. Using the phone as a phone is not strictly against the law, so it is likely that officers are unable to stop a vehicle when he or she is unable to determine if the phone is being used as a phone or the driver is texting and driving.
As a result, the drafting and enforcement of similar laws will need to be re-considered by state legislatures across the country and not just in Missouri and Illinois. Should drivers be required to use hands-free devices like commercial drivers? Should an out-right ban of cell phone use while driving be implemented? It seems incredibly unlikely that the latter would take place, so the adoption of laws and continued research in product development and driving habits will need to be a priority.
Mike Sudekum is a car accident attorney in St. Louis, Missouri. He has written an number of posts on the dangers of distracted driving. You can find more information by contacting him online.