Auto accidents are common in Missouri. When assessing the reasons why these crashes happen, legislators and law enforcement will try to formulate strategies to reduce their frequency. Some of the riskiest behaviors that drivers will take part in behind the wheel involve acting as a distracted driver. Such behaviors can include texting and driving, checking emails, using social media, and making phone calls. For people who are involved in an auto accident and suffer injuries, as well as those who lose a loved one in one of these wrecks, it can be helpful to understand applicable state laws and how they might be pertinent to an accident investigation.
A recent report says that Missouri is one of the worst states in the U.S. when it comes to safety laws for drivers. According to Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, each state was ranked on its road safety laws. There are 16 such laws that are considered key. Once the numbers were assessed, Missouri was third from the bottom. This is predominately due to distracted driving. State Farm Insurance has conducted surveys indicating that 79 percent of drivers admit to using their phone for one reason or another when behind the wheel.
With this information, lawmakers in the state have introduced two bills. One is designed to stop drivers from using their handheld devices when behind the wheel. The current law only states that drivers under the age of 21 cannot use a handheld device. A second bill would make it illegal to use a handheld device in school zones. Other laws that are absent in the state include strong seatbelt enfrocement, a Graduated Driver License law, laws against texting and driving, and laws against open containers. Given the cost of accidents in the state on an annual basis – $5.5 billion – these are of concern to everyone who is on the road in any capacity.
These issues should be worrisome for all drivers in the state. Since the laws are viewed as limited, people might feel emboldened to use their devices and commit various violations behind the wheel. This can be a consideration when there is a crash and people are injured or lose a loved one. Because distracted driving and other above-listed behaviors are known to be dangerous, those who were hurt and families who lost a loved one must remember the importance of a full investigation, the outcome of which may justify a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. A law firm that is experienced in handling legal claims stemming from motor vehicle accidents may be able to help build one of these claims in hopes of recovering compensation and finding accountability.