A bill proposed by state Rep. Rodney Schad, R-Versailles, would extend the texting-while-driving law to all ages. The current law, which went into effect in August, prohibits drivers ages 21 and under from texting while driving.
State Rep. Jeff Roorda, D-Barnhart, a former police chief, said the current law is incredibly subjective because officers have to determine the age of the driver while figuring out whether the phone usage is allowable.
In January, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported the Missouri State Highway Patrol issued 13 tickets statewide, with eight convictions, since the law went into effect.
Capt. Michael Smith of the Jefferson City Police Department said he hopes enforcement of the law would become easier with time when techniques are developed to determine whether a driver is texting. Smith also said plenty of people text and drive regardless of age.
In a telephone survey conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety last year, 21 percent of drivers admitted to texting or e-mailing while driving within the past month; the percentage steadily declines by increasing age, but it only went into the single digits starting with the 55-64 age group.
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, nine states ban texting by novice drivers: Delaware, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Texas and West Virginia. However, Missouri is the only state with a 21-and-under ban on texting while driving.
Do you think the age restriction in the current texting-while-driving law should be removed?