Missouri teens reminded not to text and drive

Most Kansas City residents own a cellphone and routinely use the device to talk and text family and friends. Teenagers are especially likely to use a cellphone to communicate via text message. For many teens, as parents can likely attest, using a cellphone to communicate instantly and continually with friends has become second-nature. When operating a motor vehicle, however, using a cellphone becomes a dangerous and potentially deadly activity.

The state of Missouri bans the use of cellphones for drivers who are age 21 and younger. Many teen drivers, however, disregard the law and routinely use cellphones while driving. Doing so, however, increases a driver's chances of being involved in a car accident threefold.

In an effort to educate teen drivers in Missouri about the dangers and consequences of texting while driving, the Missouri Department of Insurance recently started a safety campaign called MO Eyes on the Road. In addition to texting and driving, the campaign aims to discourage teen drivers from engaging in other distracting activities while driving such as eating, fiddling with the radio and grooming.

Teen drivers who are found to be in violation of Missouri's anti-texting and cellphone law may be subject to a $200 fine. Additionally, a two-point penalty can be added to a teen’s driver's license, which may increase the cost a driver pays for car insurance. More seriously, though, is the increased likelihood that a teen driver who is texting while driving will cause or be involved in a car accident.

In the five seconds it takes the average individual to read and reply to a text message, a driver traveling 65 MPH will travel the length of a football field. A lot can happen during that timeframe when a driver is distracted and isn't paying attention to other vehicles or pedestrians.

Individuals who have been injured in a car accident in which a driver was distracted may suffer painful, serious and debilitating injuries. In distracted driving accidents, legal action may be appropriate to recover compensation related to injuries, medical costs and lost wages.

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