You see distracted drivers every day in Missouri. They are talking on their phones. They are texting. They are not paying full attention to the road. They are causing personal injury crashes.
A recent study found Missouri has the weakest distracted driving laws in the nation. What can you do to protect yourself and your loved ones?
The dangers of distracted driving
The National Safety Council says distracted driving causes 700 injuries every day across the country. That works out to 255,500 injuries a year. The organization believes both injuries and fatalities are much higher than reported. Crashes are difficult to track, it says, because few motorists admit distracted driving.
When it comes to fatalities, distracted drivers cost 2,841 lives across the country in 2018. The deaths, broken down by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
- 1,730 drivers
- 605 passengers
- 400 pedestrians
- 77 bicyclists
The dangers of Missouri laws
Forbes cites a nationwide analysis on 11 metrics linked to distracted driving. It covers crash statistics, legislation, penalties and other factors. The report is bad news for Missouri, placing the state dead last. The state, for example, has no law barring school bus drivers from texting.
Another study in the Forbes report polled law enforcement officials about distracted driving. It found officials think the issue deserves higher priority, behind only DUI cases. They said current laws are often vague or incomplete.
When it comes to personal injury crashes, the laws also are complex. They also may seem designed to frustrate injured parties seeking justice and compensation.
The dangers to you
To protect yourself, you can obey all traffic laws and practice safe driving. You cannot, however, control the behavior of other motorists.
What you can control is how you react to a distracted driving crash that causes a personal injury. Educating yourself is the first step toward safeguarding both your loved ones and your interests.