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Proposed legislation aims to restrict cell phone use

Since 2014, there has been a 35 percent increase in the number of accidents related to cell phone use in the state of Missouri. To help prevent these accidents, lawmakers in the state have introduced a variety of legislation to further restrict or ban the use of phones while driving. Currently, those who are younger than 21 or drive a commercial vehicle cannot text while doing so.

The most recent proposals call for barring all drivers from texting as well as prohibiting the use of cell phones entirely in school zones. If the proposed legislation to ban all drivers from texting passes, the penalty would be $50. That fine would double if the infraction occurs in a school or construction zone. Those who violate the current texting while driving ban could be required to pay a possible fine of up to $200. Furthermore, two points could be added to a driver’s license.

According to the National Council of State Legislatures, it is illegal to use a handheld device while driving in 16 states. However, Missouri has not been able to pass any sort of comprehensive ban or restriction on using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle. Over the past two years, there have been eight different proposals related to this issue.

If a person is texting and driving prior to causing a traffic accident, that individual may be liable for damages a victim may incur. Those damages may include medical costs in the immediate aftermath of the crash as well as those incurred in the future related to the accident. Other damages may include lost wages, lost future earnings and possible punitive damages. An attorney may help a victim obtain compensation through a settlement or a formal jury trial.