In the state of Missouri, it is legal to talk on the phone while driving
a passenger vehicle. But the law regarding cell phone usage while operating
a commercial vehicle has changed. Depending on the weight of the truck,
a new federal mandate states that those driving a commercial vehicle must
use a "one touch" method if they wish to talk on the cell phone
"It would be a hands free device," said Sgt. Bernhardt.
"A one touch telephone call can be made utilizing a cell phone only
if it can be done while the driver is seat belted in the seat of a commercial
vehicle. Commercial motor vehicle drivers can no longer hold the cell
phone in their hand to make a call or answer a call, unless it is being
used in an emergency or to contact law enforcement to report crashes,
or intoxicated drivers."
Bernhardt said that several months ago, the Department of Transportation
set a mandate that it is against the law to text while operating a commercial
vehicle. There are also restrictions for young drivers regarding texting
"In the state of Missouri, it is illegal for anyone 21 or younger
to operate a motor vehicle and send or receive a text or use a mobile
data device," Sgt. Bernhardt said.
Bernhardt mentioned that this law also applies to those 21 and younger
participating in activities such as reading Facebook feeds on smart phones
while driving. Although it is legal for those over 21 to text while driving
in the state of Missouri, Sgt. Bernhardt said it is certainly not the
safest thing to do while out on the roads.
"Obviously texting or talking on the cell phone is a very unsafe driving
practice because when you're talking on the cell phone, when you're
texting, that takes your eyes off of the roadway and gives you an increased
chance of being involved in a traffic crash . "
Here are the Missouri State Highway Patrol statistics to prove his claim.
In 2010, there were 151,353 car crashes in the State of Missouri. Of those
crashes, 21 people were killed due to the driver using a cell phone at
the the time of crash. 558 were injured. Also, there were 1,772 traffic
crashes in 2010 due to driving and using a cell phone. In regards to commercial
vehicles, they were involved in nine percent of all traffic crashes in
2010. In those crashes, 105 people were killed and 4,007 were injured.