Missouri’s New Texting and Driving Law

August 29, 2023
Missouri’s New Texting and Driving Law

What Does it Mean for You?

Missouri has a new law prohibiting drivers from manually typing, scrolling, or holding their cell phones while driving. The law was enacted on August 28, 2023, and applies to all drivers, regardless of age. This includes holding or supporting a phone with any part of the body, sending or reading text messages, watching videos, and posting or viewing social media. 

In addition, there are enhanced penalties for repeat offenders or if the violation occurs in a work or school zone. Penalties are also more severe should the violation lead to property damage, injury, or death. 

This is a significant change from the previous law, which only prohibited texting and driving for drivers under 21. The new law is designed to make Missouri’s roads safer by reducing the number of distracted driving accidents.

Known as secondary enforcement, law enforcement will issue a cell phone violation if it’s noticed while pulling you over for another infraction. 

What is distracted driving?

Distracted driving is any activity that takes your attention away from the road. This includes texting, talking on the phone, eating, drinking, adjusting the radio, and even talking to passengers. When you are distracted, you are more likely to make mistakes, such as drifting into another lane or running a red light.

How dangerous is distracted driving?

Distracted driving is a significant cause of accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving caused an estimated 3,522 deaths in 2021.

What are the implications of Missouri’s new texting and driving law for drivers?

The new law has several implications for drivers in Missouri. Here are some of the most important ones:

  • Drivers can no longer manually type, scroll, or hold their cell phones while driving. This means they cannot text, send emails, or check social media while behind the wheel.
  • Drivers can use their phones hands-free for talking, navigating, or listening to music.
  • Drivers can use their phones if the police pull them over or are stopped in traffic.
  • Penalties don’t start until 2025. Drivers who violate the law will be subject to a fine of up to $150, which can increase to $500 for repeat convictions in two years. 

There are several things that drivers can do to avoid distracted driving. 

  • Put your phone away. The best way to avoid distracted driving is to put your phone away entirely. Pull over to a safe location if you need to use your phone.
  • Use hands-free devices. If you must use your phone while driving, use a hands-free device. This will allow you to keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. When you are driving, be mindful of your surroundings and avoid distractions. This includes eating, drinking, talking to passengers, and adjusting the radio.
  • Take breaks. Pull over and take a break if you are tired or distracted. Get out of the car, stretch, and walk around.

If you face charges related to driving while talking or texting on the phone, contact a criminal defense attorney to help you navigate the legal issues. You don’t have to deal with it alone. 


For personalized legal guidance, call our office at 417-882-9300 or submit this form to schedule a meeting with an attorney.

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