Distracted Driving in Missouri

In 2017, distracted driving in Missouri caused more vehicular wrecks than drunk driving and speeding. Distracted driving resulted in 21,058 car wrecks, while speeding-related and drunk driving accidents were numbered at 19,535 and 5,321, respectively. Here are some of leading causes of distracted driving collisions in Missouri:

  • Using a communication device
  • Adjusting electronic equipment/vehicle controls
  • Passengers
  • Eating and drinking
  • Tobacco use
  • Grooming yourself or applying makeup.
  • Reading

Most states have distracted driving restriction laws that apply to all motorists. Missouri’s distracted driving restriction laws, however, only apply to drivers who are 21 years old or younger. The law prohibits any motorist under the age of 21 from sending, reading, or writing a text or electronic message using a hand-held device. Violating a distracted driving law is considered a moving violation, and a conviction could result in an $85 fine and two traffic violation points being accessed to the motorist’s driving record.

Not only does distracted driving increase your chances of getting into a vehicular collision, it also increases your chances of committing a traffic violation. The Insurance Information Institute (III) reported in 2016 that 63% of vehicular accidents were the result of a traffic violation. Traffic violations include failure to yield, following too closely, speeding, and failure to obey signs and signals, among others—all of which are more likely to occur with distraction a such as a cellphone or electronic device.

After a vehicular collision, typically, the driver that committed the traffic violation is determined to be at fault. However, the situation may not always be so cut-and-dry. It is not unusual to see more than one traffic violation—involving multiple parties—leading up to an auto wreck. Determining fault after a car crash is the first step to recovering damages for victims. One factor that determines fault is the issuance of any tickets by police officers at the scene of the collision. This helps insurance companies and courts determine who bears responsibility for the wreck.

Missouri is considered a pure comparative fault state. This means that the amount of damages recoverable from an accident is reduced by the level fault by the individual involved in the accident. In other words, if an individual was 75% at fault for a vehicular collision, that person could be compensated for 25% of the damages.

Being involved in a motor vehicle accident is not only traumatic but can also be time-consuming and confusing. Insurance companies do everything in their power to minimize costs. Insurance companies have the means to hire legal teams to work on their behalf. In the event of a car accident, you will want to contact an attorney capable of matching the defense brought by the insurance company’s legal team.