person engaging in distracted driving.

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,522 people lost their lives in 2021 because of distracted driving. Missouri legislators are taking a bold step by introducing a new distracted driving law. As legal advocates, we want to provide information on how to navigate the new law.

Missouri’s New Distracted Driving Law: A Closer Look

Siddens Bening Hands Free Law addresses the growing concern around using electronic devices while driving. This law, which came into effect on August 28, 2023, aims to stop dangerous distracted driving habits. By explaining the details of the law, we can understand how it will impact drivers today.

Understanding the Law: Prohibited Activities and Penalties

According to the bill, you can’t engage in these activities while driving a commercial or non-commercial vehicle:

  • Hold or support an electronic device.
  • Enter any information or text manually.
  • Engage in any phone calls, voice messages or other forms of one-way communication.
  • Watch movies or videos.
  • Record, post or broadcast any videos.

Engaging in any of these prohibited activities will result in warnings initially, and then later, tickets and fines, as discussed further below.

How Does This Impact Drivers?

Until January 1, 2025, law enforcement is strictly only allowed to give warnings to drivers. After that, however, officers will be authorized to issue tickets and fines. Also, distracted driving cannot be the primary reason law enforcement pulls a driver over. As a result of this new law, drivers must adapt to a more focused approach because they cannot use their phones freely. Here is what drivers can do:

  • Use hands-free technology to:
    • Make or take a phone calls.
    • Send or respond to a text messages.
    • Play/change a song or podcast on streaming platforms.
    • Change the radio station.
    • Use phone navigation.

Legal Implications and Personal Injury Cases

The new law will impact personal injury cases because of any injuries or accidents that stem from distracted driving. Violations of the law can establish negligence or lead to liability and/or legal action against the driver. Violations of this new law may also be used as a basis to assert a claim for punitive damages against the districted, at-fault driver. Our legal experts can help guide the injured party through the difficulties of this type of case.

Monsees & Mayer Can Help

The purpose of the new distracted driving law is to encourage drivers to stay focused, and ultimately keep themselves, and others on the roadway, safe. Our team of car accident attorneys can help if you are injured due to distracted driving. Contact us for a free consultation.