ST. LOUIS - The legal issues of texting and driving are worse than you may think. With youth returning to school, adults need to stress the importance of putting the phone away to curb temptation.
The Missouri Department of Transportation reports that cell phone-related crashes are up 35 percent since 2014.
Andrea McNairy, with Brown and Crouppen, says they see people seriously injured and even those who have died.
“The consequences of just looking at your phone just for a second while driving can be absolutely dire and life-changing,” says McNairy.
In Missouri, those under 21 must put it down or face fines up to $200 and possible jail time. In Illinois, it is illegal for all ages.
The problem, however, is not just with teens. According to McNairy, "41 percent of teenagers polled said their parents use their phone while driving and text while driving.”
If an accident is caused through distracted driving, McNairy says they can prove it.
"We can get cell phone records including data usage through subpoenas,” McNairy says. “And then law enforcement has the ability to actually forensically image and download a cell phone if they suspect cell phone usage was a factor or contributing factor in a car crash.”
It's time for all of us to put the phone down! Click here and take the pledge to stop driving distracted.
KTVI and KPLR are partners with Brown and Crouppen on the Distracted Driving, Spirit of Caring campaign.