Some cities think so. Some cities think not. While Missouri law prohibits drivers under 21 from texting and driving, an adult over the age of 21 is free to text, drive and be distracted on the road. Not satisfied with this result, three cities in the St. Louis County area have already determined that they can ban adults from texting and driving. Hoping to join Florissant, Manchester and St. John, the municipality of Kirkwood is considering a ban on texting and driving for all drivers according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
According to some attorneys, the current state of the law in Missouri may provide some difficulty in the ultimate enforcement of this municipal ordinance. In contrast, in Illinois, the use of all handheld cellular devices is currently illegal. However, in Missouri, there is no such ban for adults driving cars. The attempts to pass a ban on all texting and driving has met with some frustration in finding the right language. Others express concern over the enforcement of such a law. Still, the need for such a law is apparent to all of us who regularly drive on the roads. There’s nothing scarier than looking at the driver next to you who has his head down staring at the phone in the road.
Since this problem will obviously not go away, both states and municipalities will have to find new ways to enforce the safety of other drivers on the road. The balance between the convenience of mobile devices and safety of others is ongoing challenge for all drivers.
Perhaps, the best answer is a little personal responsibility and simply not texting and driving. Then, unlike the woman who ran into the back of my client’s car, you can avoid telling the officer that you didn’t see the car stopped in front of you because you were too busy talking to your friend.
Mike Sudekum is a personal injury lawyer in Missouri and Illinois.