Missouri Texting Laws
Missouri Distracted Driving Law
1. Ban on texting for novice drivers (Primary Law).
Missouri's Texting While Driving Stand
In Missouri, it is currently illegal for drivers who are 21 or under to send a text message while they are driving. The Legislature has been working on removing the 21 and under restriction from Missouri's anti-texting law but their efforts were stalled in 2011 when they ran out of time to push the bill through. Rather than see this as a setback, however, state legislators have already introduced seven distracted driver bills for 2012, and they're placing an emphasis on making it illegal for drivers of all ages to text while driving.
HB 1148: This bill, introduced by Representative Chuck Gatschenberger, would make it illegal for drivers to operate a cell phone unless they're using a hands-free device.
HB 1334: State Representative Tim Meadows introduced this bill that would prohibit chauffeurs, taxi drivers, school bus drivers and all other individuals who receive compensation for transporting others from using a cell phone unless they're using a hands-free device.
House Bill (HB) 1083: If passed, this bill would make it illegal for all drivers to engage in text messaging via a handheld device. The bill does provide an exemption for voice-recognition devices that enable a person to send a text message without having to actually touch their phone. Violators of this bill would receive a moving violation and points on their license. This bill was introduced by Representative Don Wells.
HB 1419: This bill would alter the currently existing 21 and younger bill making it illegal for all drivers to text while driving. The bill would also make it illegal for a police officer to pull someone over with the sole intent of determining their compliance with the anti-texting law. The bill was introduced by Representative Mike Colona.
HB 1420: Representative Michele Kratky introduced this bill which seeks to ban all drivers from sending text messages with a handheld device. Hands-free devices would still be permitted.
Senate Bill (SB) 567: This bill, introduced by Representative Robin Wright-Jones, mirrors the basics of HB 1419 as it also seeks to expand the current 21 and younger ban on texting to include all drivers.
SB 717: Representative Bill Stouffer introduced this general distracted driving bill. It was approved on February 23, 2012, by the Transportation Committee and is now in front of the Senate. The bill would make it a class C misdemeanor for a driver to be distracted in a way that would detract from their giving their sole attention to the task of driving. If someone is injured, however, the driver would be charged with a class A misdemeanor.
SB 11: This bill, introduced by Representative Ryan McKenna, attempted to make it illegal for all motorists to text with a handheld device while driving. The bill also gave local communities room to devise their own penalties for breaking the anti-texting law. The bill was approved by the House but did not advance any further before it became dead.
HB 600: Representative Don Wells introduced this popular bill that would have made it illegal for all drivers in Missouri to text while driving with a handheld device. The bill incorporated HB 337 and also included several other bills that were not related to texting while driving. Although the bill gained a lot of support, it was not pushed through before the end of 2011.
HB 93: This was another bill that was seeking to change the anti-texting laws to include drivers of all ages. The bill was introduced by Representative Tom Shively, and no action was taken on it.
HB 337: This bill, which sought to ban all handheld texting, was folded into HB 600 which was also introduced by Representative Don Wells.
HB 317: Representative Mike Colona sponsored this bill to make texting while driving illegal for drivers of all ages. The House Public Safety Committee did hold a hearing about the bill, but no vote was taken.
2010 Bills (Dead)
HB 2111: This bill, introduced by the Committee on Children and Families, made it through the House and the Senate before becoming dead. The bill sought to extend the texting while driving ban to include all motorists.
SB 701: Representative Ryan McKenna introduced this bill as an attempt to change the bill that he sponsored in 2009 that ultimately became the law. SB 701 would have made it illegal for all motorists to text with a handheld device.
HB 1202: Representative J. C. Kuessner introduced this bill that sought to make it illegal for drivers of any age to text while driving on a paved road.
HB 1205: This bill, sponsored by Representative Rodney Schad, would have made it illegal for all drivers to engage in text messaging.
HB 1276: Representative Don Wells introduced this bill with the intent of making it illegal for all drivers to text while driving.
HB 1315: A bill that sought to expand the current anti-texting law to include drivers of all ages. HB 1315 was sponsored by Representative Tom Shively.
HB 62: The bill that led to the 21 and younger anti-texting law.
SB 130: This bill sought a ban against all texting while driving.
HB 26: This bill sought to ban all handheld cell phone usage while driving.
HB 92: This bill required all drivers to use a hands-free device for all cell phone usage.
HB 134: This bill would have banned texting of all types while driving, along with requiring a hands-free device for phone calls.
SB 129: A bill to ban all school bus drivers from texting or talking on a handheld phone.