Report: Missouri highway safety laws could be better

Recently, the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety issued its annual report on highway safety laws throughout the nation, and for Missouri, the news was not all good.

Specifically, the recent report gave Missouri an overall rating of "yellow," meaning the organization believes Missouri has "numerous gaps" in the state's highway safety laws. For instance, while Missouri scored well in certain areas, such as child passenger laws, it did not fare quite as well with seatbelt or motorcycle helmet laws - where it received the lowest ranking possible of "red."

Texting while driving: Is it a time for change in Missouri?

According to the recent traffic-safety survey, another area in which Missouri scored particularly poor relates to the state's texting prohibition for drivers, or specifically, the lack there of. Missouri was given another "red" classification for its texting-while-driving law - meaning the state's law falls "dangerously" below recommended levels - primarily due to the fact that Missouri only bans texting while behind the wheel if the driver is 21-years-old or younger.

However, in 2014 alone, at least five different bills have been introduced in the Missouri legislature that seeks, in one way or another, to eliminate the 21-year-old limit on the texting ban and make the practice illegal for all drivers, regardless of age.

Given that most of these bills are only a month old, it is still far too early to know if any of them will make any headway in the legislature. But, given the sheer volume of bills in such a short period of time, there is simply no denying that momentum exists in Missouri to eradicate the dangerous practice of texting while driving from the state's roadways - and the severe car accidents it can cause.

Legal assistance may be needed

It is important to note, however, that even though texting while driving is not currently illegal for all drivers in Missouri, that does not mean that a driver cannot be held liable if he or she ends up injuring another motorist while texting behind the wheel. In fact, drivers can often be found negligent even if their actions are not specifically prohibited under the law - although, negligence is often easier to prove if a law is broken.

Accordingly, if you or a loved one has been injured by a texting driver, it is often best to seek the counsel of an experienced car accident attorney. A knowledgeable attorney can help protect your rights and assist is ensuring you are awarded the damages you may be entitled to, such as lost wages, medical bills or even pain and suffering.