Missourians would be banned from texting while driving under bill headed to Parson’s desk

Missourians would be banned from texting and using a cell phone while driving under a bill headed to Gov. Mike Parson’s desk.

The legislation, which passed the Missouri Senate on a vote of 27-6 on Thursday, would make Missouri the second to last state to ban the practice. Previous state law banned texting while driving for anyone under 21. Montana is the only other state without a ban.

“This is common sense. Everybody knows that you’re not safe when you’re driving and you’re looking down at your phone,” said state Sen. Greg Razer, a Kansas City Democrat who sponsored the legislation. “It’s going to save lives.”

The ban approved by Missouri lawmakers includes other uses of a cell phone including anyone who holds a cell phone, watches a video on a device and searches something online. If signed into law, the penalty for violating the ban would be a fine. A person could be charged with a felony if they violate the ban and kill someone.

However, an officer would not be able to stop someone solely for using their phone.

“Being one of two states that does not have a texting and driving law — it was time for the state of Missouri to move forward with this,” said state Sen. Jason Bean, a Holcomb Republican.