No-texting-while-driving bill passes Missouri House - best progress of texting-while-driving bill in 8 years

HB 293, the "Fair Fare Passenger Safety Act" sponsored by Rep. Galen Higdon (R-Buchanan/Platte Counties) recently passed the House by a vote of 103-46.

Missouri is one of just four states that still allows texting while driving
Missouri is one of just four states that still allows texting while driving

HB 293 has made no progress in the Senate this year, so with less than 5 hours left in the 2017 legislative session, the bill is certain to stop there, without being passed by the Senate or signed into law by Governor Greitens.

Still, this is the most progress a texting while driving bill has made in the Missouri General Assembly since the prohibition on texting while driving for drivers under 21 years of age was passed by the Missouri General Assembly in 2009. So we should take a moment to celebrate this small victory--and start planning for future years.

If you would like to help, a short note of thanks to Rep. Higdon for sponsoring HB 293 would help a lot.  Contact information is on Rep. Higdon's web page.

About HB 293 - Restrictions on hand-held cell phone and electronic devices for commercial drivers carrying passengers

HB 293 restricted commercial drivers carrying passengers from talking on hand-held telephones while driving and from reading, sending, or typing messages on hand-held electronic devices.

We know that talking and messaging on hand-held electronic devices is extremely dangerous for all drivers, and we would like to see restrictions on hand-held electronic devices and other forms of distracted driving in place for all drivers.

We know that these distractions cause many deaths and injuries.  And we know that our members strongly support laws against distracted driving.  According to our member surveys, over 2/3 of our members strongly support distracted driving and anti-texting laws, while less than 3% oppose them.

Missouri is one of just four states that still allows texting while driving.

So this bill certainly isn't everything we want. But it is a good step forward, and fact that it was able to pass the House by a substantial margin tells us that there is some real support for this effort in Jefferson City

It also tells us that working on restricted versions like this could be one way to edge around the opposition of a relatively few but powerful legislators who are keeping this issue from moving forward.  Sometimes these restricted versions (applied to only commercial drivers, only commercial drivers carrying passengers, only to young drivers, etc) are able to garner legislative traction when the unrestricted version can't.

How we helped--and how your membership and support helped

This year a large and active coalition of groups worked to support several bills on hands-free use of electronic devices while driving.  The coaltion included road safety advocates, insurance companies, law enforcement agencies, electronic device and cell phone companies, and bicycle and pedestrian advocacy groups.

The Missouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Federation helped support the effort to pass these distracted driving bills by actively supporting the coalition, sharing information about the coalition and anti-texting bills with our coalition of related organizations across the state, sharing information about the bills on our web site and via social media, by organizing supporters to contact legislators on these issues at our annual Capitol Day and throughout the legislative session as appropriate, and by testifying at several legislative hearings in support of these bills.

Your ongoing membership and generous financial support of our work is absolutely vital in ensure that this type of advocacy work at the statewide level can continue and expand.

More information and articles about the 2017 Legislative Session here.

 

Working to improve safety for all road users is one of four main goals in MoBikeFed's Vision for Bicycling and Walking in Missouri.

Your ongoing membership and generous financial support helps turn our Vision into reality!

 

Photo credit: Texting While Driving by OzLady on FlickR. License: CC BY-NC 2.0.

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