Roadway Safety in Missouri – Tougher Laws Needed

Roadway Safety in Missouri – Tougher Laws Needed

Missouri isn’t doing all it can to help make our roads safer. According to a recent study from the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, there are simple changes that could be made to our road laws that would help reduce the risks of accidents. Although there have been a number of incentives included in a new federal transportation bill, Missouri lawmakers remain hesitant.

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The recently released report looked at 15 laws that have the ability to reduce the risks of accidents for teen drivers as well as help to prevent distracted driving and other dangerous driving habits, according to Edmunds.com. Still, Missouri leaves those safety decisions to the drivers — with few legal repercussions for those who disregard safety behind the wheel.

Our St. Louis car accident attorneys understand that there are a number of laws Missouri has not enacted. Federal transportation officials note we are lacking when it comes to seat belt usage, our Graduated Driver’s Licensing (GDL) program and our drunk driving laws. In 2011, there were more than 780 people killed in traffic accidents in Missouri. Many of these accidents could have been prevented if we had tougher laws. These accidents cost our state nearly $4.75 billion in 2011.

“Several states have been moving backwards and most states are not moving at all to enact lifesaving laws,” said the president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Jacqueline Gillan.

Updates Suggested for Missouri:

-Seat belt laws should be primary enforcement. Currently, only motorists under the age of 16 and those in the front seat are required to wear a seat belt. This can only be cited if a driver is pulled over first for another offense. Still, the punishment for breaking this law is only a $50 fine for underage occupants and a $10 fine for front-seat passengers, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

-Drivers should not be able to get their learner’s permit until they are 16-years-old. Older drivers show more maturity behind the wheel and are statistically safer.

-New drivers should have tougher nighttime restrictions. Currently, they are only prohibited from driving between 1:00 and 5:00 a.m. Accidents are more likely for our younger drivers during the evening hours. By keeping these drivers off of our roads when it’s dark out, we can help to prevent a lot of unnecessary accidents!

-All drivers should be banned from text messaging behind the wheel. Texting while driving makes a driver 23 times more likely to get into an accident. Law or not, drivers should keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road — not on text messages.

With just these few changes, officials would be able to save the lives of hundreds of travelers each and every year.

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Ryan R. Cox & Associates, LLC

Ryan R. Cox & Associates, LLC is a litigation law firm that represents individuals and families in serious personal injury and wrongful death claims throughout Missouri. We help people who have been injured in all types of accidents—including car or truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and fall accidents, and much more. Whether your injury is something that can cause long-term issues like a brain injury or spinal cord injury, or it is something you’ll likely make a full recovery from, we are here to help.

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