2 States Still Legalize Texting While Driving

Things are About To Shift

The Missouri state Senate is barely short of generating a majority to pass legislation that would forbid texting while traveling, an activity presently illegal in every jurisdiction aside from Missouri and Montana. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, when that extra Senate vote is acquired, it will be sent to the House. Equally Montana, Missouri in this moment prohibits drivers aged twenty-one and less from messaging while driving, and the potential law would make it a secondary offense for operators of all ages. Still, is that sufficient?

At first, the representatives from the state wanted to make texting and driving a major road violation, so that officers of the law could bring drivers to a stop and give them a citation if they were spotted doing it. However, Senator Rick Brattin presented a modification to the legal act that stated making texting while on the road was a aftermath infraction. What makes it unique? Officers can only punish with a penalty those caught in this deed if they are stopped beforehand for a separate legal fault such as running a red light or going over the speed limit.

Sen. Jason Bean, the author of the bill, was rightfully angered when he learned that texting while driving itself won’t be a crime. “If a police officer saw a person texting and said … ‘they’re not distracted; there’s nothing wrong,’ and then … 10 seconds later they hit a construction worker, they could’ve possibly stopped that, correct?” Bean posed.

Sen. Brattin’s response to his colleague was not exactly helpful: “In that hypothetical,” Brattin said, “… there are so many variables. I mean we’re not outlawing eating a cheeseburger.”

Rep. Johnathan Bean’s proposed bill would make it illegal for drivers to use their cell phones while behind the wheel, with the exception of certain activities such as playing music, using a navigation app, or calling 911. Even making a phone call would only be allowed if done through voice activation, a feature that is usually available on newer cars.

This report omitted information on how the proposed legislation would handle semi-autonomous driving and texting. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that having Autopilot (FSD included) in vehicles such as the Tesla Model S legally necessitates that the driver stays focused all the time. Only Level 3 autonomous driving – approved in Nevada for example with Mercedes’ Drive Pilot system – makes a situation where the motorist does not have to be watching the freeway ahead permissible. Since Missouri has not put forth any regulations or laws regarding such autonomy, it naturally was not taken into account.

Those found to be texting and driving will face quite a sizable fine. As per the crucial aspects of the bill, a first offense within 2 years would attract a $150 charge and their license won’t suffer any deduction of points. This is notably milder than what other states impose for the same offence.

In the state of Colorado, texting while driving is considered a primary offense and can be punished with fines up to $300 as well as deduction of four points from the individual’s license. Subsequent offenses will result in an additional four point reduction, along with potential incarceration for twelve months, as well as an extra fine of $1,000.

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