CDC lists three distinct types of distracted driving. These are visual distractions, manual distractions, and cognitive distractions. Visual distraction involves taking your eyes off the road while manual distraction involves taking your hands off the wheel. Cognitive distraction, of course, involves taking your mind off the act of driving.
Essentially, anything that takes your mind off the act of driving constitutes distracted driving. Some of the most common reasons for distracted driving include cell phone use, texting while driving, and fiddling with infotainment systems. Some things, however, may not be intuitive. For instance, smoking cigarettes while driving also causes you to take your hands off the wheel.
Of these, the most dangerous form of distracted driving is texting while driving. Police often pull over those who are texting while driving because they can’t tell the difference between them and drunk drivers. This is because texting while driving combines all three forms of distraction: manual, visual, and cognitive.
Teens More Likely to Drive Distracted
While distracted driving occurs in every age demographic, teens were overrepresented in the data. While nine percent of all driving fatalities can be attributed to distracted driving, that number was higher among those under the age of 20. In 2017, a survey showed that 42 percent of teens with licenses reported sending a text while driving.
Missouri Laws on Texting While Driving
Missouri is one of three states that does not consider texting while driving a primary offense unless you are under the age of 21. A police officer can pull you over for committing another traffic offense, like driving recklessly or speeding, but they cannot pull you over for texting while driving. Many believe this makes Missouri roads more dangerous. They’re right.
Even though the law does not ban texting while driving, Missouri drivers can be held liable if they cause a car accident while they are texting. Those texting while driving are likely to be held wholly liable for any accident they cause. Add to that the fact that the risk of serious injury or death increases exponentially for a driver whose eyes are not on the road, and you have a perfect storm in which a novice driver is driving distracted and putting everyone else (and themselves) at risk of a life-altering injury or death.
There are some federal laws in place restricting texting while driving for federal employees, but these laws are left to the states to pass.
There is some indication that the Missouri legislature will propose a ban in the future. One such law would make texting while driving a $50 ticket or $100 in a school zone.
In 2017, 3,166 drivers died as a result of distracted driving. Many of those were not the ones who were driving distracted.
Talk to a Kansas City, MO Traffic Accident Attorney
If you’ve been injured because another driver couldn’t wait to return a text, a Kansas City Car Accident attorney at the Krause & Kinsman Law Firm can ensure that you are compensated handsomely for your injuries. Talk to us today for a free consultation.
Adam Krause is a personal injury, mass tort, business litigation, and employment discrimination attorney who practices in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law and has been practicing law for several years now. Adam Krause has made a career of taking complicated litigation and presenting it in the most elementary terms for a jury of your peers to understand. Learn more about his experience here.