In recent times, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) has championed the safety campaign, "BUPD," short for Buckle Up, Phone Down. This initiative comes in response to the growing number of auto accidents linked to cell phone use—especially texting—while driving. Let's unpack why this policy is essential and the legal implications of breaking the rules.

In Missouri, certain laws have been enacted to curtail cell phone usage while driving. For instance, it's illegal for drivers under 21 years old to text while driving non-commercial vehicles. The same applies to commercial vehicle drivers, regardless of age. Exceptions exist, but they are few and far between. If you text and drive without qualifying under these exceptions, the Department of Revenue may assess points against your license, which could lead to increased insurance premiums until these points are removed.

These laws are rooted in real concerns about road safety. A 2018 AAA foundation study found that drivers who text are twice as likely to be involved in an automobile accident compared to those who don't. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute went a step further, concluding that texting while driving makes you six times more likely to be in a motor vehicle accident than if you were driving intoxicated. It equates the response time of a texting driver to that of a person who consumed four beers within an hour. Given the high-speed and heavy nature of vehicles, such response times are inherently unsafe.

In my legal practice, the typical texting and driving cases I handle often involve rear-end accidents, where the at-fault driver failed to notice a stopped vehicle ahead. Alternatively, they may involve an accident at an intersection where the texting driver missed the stoplight, leading to a collision with another vehicle lawfully crossing the intersection. Trust me when I say that you do not want to be the at-fault party in these situations. The fallout can be severe, including claims filed against your insurance, increased premium rates, potential lawsuits, and the guilt of knowing your negligence may have caused someone else lifelong injury.
Meta Description: Understand the implications of texting while driving with our comprehensive guide. This article unpacks the "Buckle Up, Phone Down" initiative by MoDOT, explores the legal consequences of breaking the rules in Missouri, and underscores the real-world dangers of distracted driving.