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Insurance experts advocate for stricter ‘distracted driving’ legislation after report ranks Missouri as third worst

DES PERES, MO - Distracted driving is being blamed for a crash that injured two Parkway West High School students while walking on a sidewalk along Clayton Road last Tuesday.

According to Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Missouri is near the bottom of all states for driver safety laws, at a time when distracted driving is happening at a high rate.

“I have worked in insurance for ten years and I see it every day,” said State Farm Insurance agent, Tania Interian, “it’s increased 35 percent since 2014.”

The study reports that Missouri lacks 12 key safety laws to protect drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

“Sadly, Missouri ranks as the third worst state in the country,” Interian continued.

“Illinois is ranked 8th as the best state. A driver in Illinois can be pulled over for not wearing a seat belt. Texting and driving is banned for all drivers and those are the two points that show that Illinois is way ahead of Missouri.”

Our partners at the St. Louis Post Dispatch report, Missouri lawmakers may again attempt to restrict the use of the devices while driving.

Transportation officials say such a move could reduce the number of fatal crashes, which, according to figures released Tuesday, again topped 900 during 2018.

Lawmakers, who will be in session into mid-May, have introduced at least six separate proposals since early December that would restrict the use of cell phones while driving, whether by talking or texting.

Current state law bans texting for drivers under the age of 21 and drivers of commercial motor vehicles. But some local municipalities ban texting while driving for all age groups.

“Texting legislation should cover all electronic devices that require the use of a keypad,” said Interian, “it’s not worth it because in an accident that may even kill or injure somebody.”

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