Columbia City Council passes distracted driving ban

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The Columbia City Council Monday approved a citywide distracted driving ban, which would outlaw any activity that takes a driver's attention away from the road.

As defined by the city council, distracted driving includes a wide range of activity like texting, eating, putting on makeup or reading a map.

Columbia's Vision Zero Plan seeks to eliminate all traffic-related deaths by the year 2030. The distracted driving ban is part of the implementation of that plan.

In the Vison Zero Action Plan, Enforcement Critical Action #2 Initiative B states, "The Enforcement Team will introduce an ordinance to amend Ch. 14 to ban texting and driving in the City of Columbia for all drivers.

The ordinance passed Monday amends the current ordinance (Sec. 14-236) to include prohibitions on distracted driving for all drivers.

City officials hope the ban will greatly reduce the number of Columbian's that text and drive. Cell phone usage contributed to more than 2,000 crashes in Missouri in 2015.

MoBikeFed comment: The law against distracted driving was one of the major goals of Columbia's Vision Zero plan--and was also strongly supported by the Columbia police department, who wanted more tools to address the serious injuries and fatalities that result from distracted driving.

Congratulations to PedNet and all the others in Columbia who have been working to implement Missouri's first Vision Zero policy on this important milestone.

This ordinance is a good model for Missouri cities across the state that want to address distracted driving.

More about Vision Zero in Missouri: