New Missouri law bans texting while driving (for those under 21)

Text While Driving by OzLady on FlickR
A law passed last week by the Missouri General Assembly bans texting while driving--but only for those under 21 years of age.

The sponsor of the bill, Senator Ryan McKenna, has vowed to address the issue again next year to make the law apply to drivers of all ages.

McKenna's original bill applied to drivers of all ages but changes were made as the bill moved through the legislative process.

According to a Post-Dispatch article:

The Missouri bill's sponsor, Sen. Ryan McKenna, D-Crystal City, said he had seen many people come close to crashing because they were texting while driving.

"I think it's an epidemic in this country," he said.

The provision originally didn't make it out of the House, but it got tacked on to a larger crime bill.

McKenna said he was upset that the bill only applies to those 21 and younger. His original bill, which passed 32-2 in the Senate, applied to drivers of all ages.

McKenna pointed to news reports from events such as a recent trolley crash in Boston. "These people were over 21 years of age," he said.

McKenna said he'll try again next year to expand the law to include all ages.
Restrictions on talking on cell phones, texting, and other similar distractions while driving have been proven to lead to many of the injuries and fatalities on U.S. roads and highways.
  • The original senate bill, SB 130, is here.
  • The omnibus crime bill that passed, HB 62, including the provisions about text messaging among many others, is here.
Restricting texting while driving is one of the issues supported in MoBikeFed's legislative platform.