Distracted driving accidents have become one of the biggest dangers on the road in recent years. Drivers are paying attention to so many things when they’re behind the wheel that they have little time left to watch the road. This puts them and others at risk for a serious car accident, which can lead to significant personal injuries.
To combat this trend, lawmakers in Missouri have introduced a bill that would help prevent distracted driving by prohibiting professional drivers from using their phone while carrying a passenger.
Bill Aims to Reduce Distracted Driving Accidents
House Bill 293, also known as the Fair Fare Passenger Safety Act, is making its way through the Missouri state legislature. If it ends up passing, it would prohibit drivers from using their cellphone while they have a fare-paying customer in the vehicle.
The people who would be most impacted by the bill would be taxi and especially other ride-sharing drivers, like those who drive for Uber and Lyft. It would make it more difficult for them to organize and keep track of their next ride, which would make it more difficult for them to work as ride-sharing drivers.
However, according to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Galen Higdon, of St. Joseph, that’s the point: “With a fare in the car, you’ve taken another step of responsibility. You should be paying attention to the fare and the roadway to get them there as safely as possible.”
The bill does have some crucial limitations, though. It only applies to drivers who get paid a fare by their passengers for the ride, and so doesn’t apply to someone driving an emergency response vehicle. The bill only prohibits hand-held devices, letting drivers still use Bluetooth devices and other hands-free setups. Finally, it allows drivers to use their cellphone if it’s to report illegal activity, to get emergency medical help, or prevent someone from getting hurt.
The bill has already passed out of the Legislative Oversight Committee after getting the Committee’s unanimous approval. Proponents of the bill are confident that they can pass it through the Missouri House of Representatives when it comes up for debate.
The Fair Fare Passenger Safety Act would become the latest in a series of efforts by Missouri to prohibit certain drivers from using cellphones while behind the wheel, instead of issuing a blanket ban. Already, drivers in Missouri who are under the age of 21 are prohibited from texting on their cellphones while driving.
St. Joseph Car Accident Attorneys at the Smith Law Office
Laws like these are long overdue. More and more people in Missouri and across the country have been killed in serious car accidents. Studies have shown that this increase is not just because there are more drivers and cars on the road: People are getting into more crashes because of someone driving while distracted from the road. Any law like the Fair Fare Passenger Safety Act is another step in the right direction.
If you or someone you love has been hurt in a car accident in the St. Joseph or Kansas City areas, get in touch with the attorneys at the Smith Law Office. Call us at (816) 875-9373 or contact us online.