Today's Question: What's your take on texting-while-driving law?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009 | 12:04 p.m. CDT; updated 10:26 a.m. CST, Thursday, February 18, 2010

COLUMBIA — On July 9, Gov. Jay Nixon signed into law a bill, which was originally introduced by Rep. Scott Lipke, that makes sending, reading and writing text messages while driving illegal for people 21 and younger.

Starting Aug. 28, Sgt. Shelley Jones, traffic unit supervisor for the Columbia Police Department, and her traffic unit will be able to pull over anyone 21 or under that they see texting while driving in the car.

Rep. Joe Smith, whose own attempts to push through legislation limiting hand-held cell phone use failed, said he thinks the new law slipped through without the usual opposition because it only applies to people 21 and younger. 

Sen. Ryan McKenna, who introduced his own bill this session limiting text messaging while driving, said, "the House was uncomfortable with the bill without the age restriction."

McKenna’s bill addressed text messaging in the car and passed in the Senate with a vote of 31-3. The bill then stalled in the House Public Safety Committee. 

When asked about McKenna's bill, one of the three dissenting voters, Sen. Jason Crowell, said that the law, nicknamed the Careless and Imprudent Driving law, is an umbrella law that covers dangerous behaviors in the car, Crowell said.

“We currently have a statewide catch-all with the (Careless and Imprudent law),” he said. “I am opposed to texting, but if we go down this route, we’re going to have to pass a law for every behavior that is not wise to do while driving.” 

Smith plans to continue fighting for all-age legislation, as well.

“A lot of the time in Jefferson City, you have to crawl before you can walk,” McKenna said. Of a bill applying to all ages, he said, “I plan on proposing it again next year.”

What do you think of the texting-while-driving law?

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Anna Codutti July 16, 2009 | 4:08 p.m.

What a horrible piece of legislation. I realize that there will be many more under-21s likely to be texting while driving, but how is it any less dangerous for someone older to be doing the same thing? I will admit it -- I've done it myself, and several weeks ago I hit a big curb on the side of Broadway while texting. It put a big knot in my tire that ended up costing me good money to replace. It's scary to think what else could have happened, potentially costing me more than money. The House is uncomfortable to pass such a bill without an age restriction? GET uncomfortable with the idea that this law is doing everyone a disservice.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr July 16, 2009 | 4:26 p.m.

Texting and the use of Cell Phones while driving should be outlawed and if a person is caught then maybe the confiscation of their vehicle and the revocation of their license should be in order.

The life of a child,young adult or loved one could be your own. Think about it.

(Report Comment)
Cynthia Givens August 7, 2009 | 8:26 p.m.

I think anyone driving and texting at the same time should be charged with a moving violation and points taken from thier license. This is complete insanity. It should be banned in every state. I see mothers driving and crossing the lanes all the time. I blow my horn to get their attention and point to their tires. When they slow down and roll down the window, I scream at them"Baby Killer"

I have actually seen them trying to text w/a child in the car. Parental rights should be taken away. It makes no sense to me at all. People that stupid, are the reason I favor abortion.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro August 8, 2009 | 12:42 a.m.

Texting? How do you text?
I'm still trying to figure out how to program my VCR...

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking August 8, 2009 | 2:44 a.m.

Anna Codutti wrote:

"GET uncomfortable with the idea that this law is doing everyone a disservice."

I have no problem with making this illegal for everyone, but the real problem is our disconnect when it comes to the lethality of the automobiles people drive. To drive with anything less than single minded attention is criminal irresponsibility, and is the single biggest reason why our highways and streets are stained with the blood they are.

Get caught driving and texting? In my book, a driver doing that(or similar distracting activities) is guilty of unlawful use of a weapon, and should lose their license for the rest of their lives.


(Report Comment)

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