St. Louis Public Radio News
4:52 pm
Tue February 9, 2010

Texting-while-driving bill before Mo. House committee

Jefferson City, Mo. – Legislation that would expand Missouri's texting-while-driving ban to all motorists received a hearing today before a State House committee.

The current ban on sending, receiving or reading text messages while driving only applies to those age 21 and younger.

Brent Butler with the Missouri Insurance Coalition testified in favor of expanding the ban to all ages.

"You always hear about 'so-and-so was texting while driving and that caused the accident,' and...it's pretty prevalent, and as the sponsor said, it's becoming an epidemic," Butler told the House Public Safety Committee.

No one spoke in opposition to the bill. But State Representative Scott Dieckhaus (R, Washington), who sits on the committee, questioned whether passing the bill could lead to over-regulation.

"If we pass this, where are we going to stop? Are we going to outlaw putting on your make-up while driving or changing your CD while driving, or flipping to the next track on your I-pod? I think all those things lead to car accidents...I just don't know how necessary it is to make this a statute," Dieckhaus said.

The House Public Safety Committee will vote on the bill at a later date.

The state of Illinois' texting ban went into effect this year and applies to all drivers.