In light of the Missouri Press Association and AT&T “It Can Wait” challenge and pledge, I write to you, urging you to change the laws concerning texting and driving. The law in Missouri, according to DMV.org states, “Although an increasing number of states are placing restrictions on cell phone usage, Missouri has no law regarding the use of cell phones while driving. The state does, however, ban texting for all drivers 21 years old or younger.” Sadly, the law does not forbid texting and driving (or any other cell phone related restrictions) to those of legal age.
As most of us realize, laws do not always cause the defined behavior to stop. If the General Assembly is persuaded to amend the current, outdated law, change will not be immediate. Hopefully the respectable, law abiding citizens will quickly accept the new law and adhere to it. As for those who choose to not follow the law, they may realize consequences and harsh penalties for being distracted by their cell phones (including texting, picture taking, social media updating and finding music) and be deterred from those dangerous, senseless driving distractions.
Some adults may think they possess advanced driving skills. They think they can text and drive and “smartphone” simultaneously. A change in the law would demand diligent and plentiful advertise about the said changes. With this advertisement, a new awareness about the dangers will be recognized by these drivers. They may also realize that roadway safety officers will be seeking out lawbreakers. This may cause previously distracted drivers to put down their phones.
I encourage the General Assembly to amend Missouri’s current, outdated texting and driving law. This change will save lives and heartache. Help the people of Missouri to only have to learn the consequences of texting and driving through legal means. Don’t let Missouri citizens learn after a disaster occurs. Help teach the perils of texting and driving and smartphone distracted driving and prevent those dangers before they occur.
The Houston R-1 School District does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, genetics or age in its programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Dr. Allen Moss, Superintendent, 423 W. Pine, Houston, MO 65483, (417) 967-3024.