Missouri cell phone-related crashes increasing

MO cellphone related crashes increasing (Photo: Amber Draper/KTVO)

According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, cell phone use is one of the fastest growing causes of fatal crashes in Missouri.

Cell phone-related traffic crashes have increased by 35 percent since 2014.

Even though many drivers know that texting and driving is unsafe, Lt. Mark Wellman with the Kirksville Police Department says many drivers still do it because they overestimate their ability to drive when distracted.

Wellman says drivers must keep in mind that a lot can happen in three or four seconds when they are looking down at their phone at not at the road.

In some cases when drivers redirect their attention back to the road, it may be too late to avoid a crash.

“ We’ve had that happen here numerous times. We’ve had people witness an accident and said somebody was not looking up at the roadway at the time when the crash happened," said Wellman.

Wellman says the possibility of a new law coming into effect may have a positive influence on whether people use their phone while they are driving.

Legislation introduced in Missouri would ban texting for all drivers, or drivers could face an increased fine. Currently in Missouri, only drivers 21 and under are banned from texting while driving.

Wellman says drivers should opt for hands-free bluetooth options when wanting to talk on the phone and drive.

If you must send or respond to a text, pull over.

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