Have you ever been on a major highway and noticed a car swerving in and out of the lane while going about 45 mph? You probably thought they were drunk, right? But when you passed them, what did you see? You saw a driver who had one eye on the road and the other on their phone trying to do two things at the same time.
Distracted driving is one of the most common reasons for car accidents on modern roads. The Missouri Department of Transportation recently determined that around 80 percent of the accidents on the road can be attributed to distracted driving. Whether it’s caused by driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol or the use of cell phones, the worst part of this revelation is that all of these accidents could have been avoided if the at-fault driver had their full attention on the road.
Missouri Law Is Stricter than Most
In many states, the laws against texting while driving involve a vehicle that is currently in motion. In Missouri, you’re prohibited from texting even if you’re behind the wheel. Additionally, drivers who are considered novices are not allowed to use cell phones at all. That means not even taking calls if they have a hands-free Bluetooth connection.
In Missouri, texting while driving is considered a primary offense. That means that an officer can pull you over for texting while driving and issue a ticket regardless of whether or not you’re doing something else wrong.
Other Forms of Distracted Driving
While texting and drunk driving constitute the majority of infractions in Missouri, it’s also true that other forms of distracted driving do result in accidents. Additionally, there are a number of other behaviors that also increase the risk of causing an accident. These include:
- Smoking while driving – Some states have passed laws prohibiting parents from smoking while there are kids in the car, but Missouri is not one of them. Smoking while driving is very legal but creates a distraction for the driver. Not only is one of the driver’s hands taken off the wheel, but they have to be aware of the burning cigarette in their car. In fact, the problem is so bad that the National Institutes of Health issued a report that showed that smokers take their eyes off the road more often than those who use cell phones.
- Infotainment systems – All newer models of cars come with infotainment systems. These are wonderful when used properly, but they also contribute to distracted driving accidents. Often, this involves people who are attempting to program their navigation or otherwise setting up their Bluetooth to make sure the right Spotify playlist is playing. All of this should be done before taking the road as opposed to after. If these are major concerns, you can always pull over and use the system safely.
Talk to a St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been injured by a driver who was smoking, texting, or messing with their infotainment system, you’re entitled to raise this as a complaint and recover damages for your injuries. Talk to Krause and Kinsman Law Firm today to set up a free consultation with a car accident lawyer.
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.