The Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws reports the state’s performances for 2017. Only 7 states make the best states rankings. State with less than half of the Optimal Traffic Safety laws in place are consider dangerously behind in the adoption of Advocates’ optimal laws.
With that being said, Missouri, along with many other states, has plenty of room for improvement.
Missouri, Catch Up
According to the Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety’s annual report, Missouri was the fourth worst state listed in the report with only 4 laws currently in place.
Our state’s shortcomings were:
- ban on texting and driving
- primary front and rear seat belt laws
- rear facing car seats through age 2/ booster seat law
- open-container law and ignition interlocks for all offenders.
Texting & Driving
Missouri may still be one of the few states that don’t have explicit laws for texting drivers, but there is a law that prohibits texting & driving of drivers under the age of 21.
State legislature has yet to enforce a statewide law. Although some cities in Missouri have passed individual all-age bans on texting at the wheel. Springfield is still one of the cities that still follows the state: 21 & under texting ban.
Buckle Up & Arrive Alive
While driving without a seat belt is already illegal in Missouri, one cannot be pulled over without other probable cause. Advocates suggest a change to remedy that shortcoming.
Springfield, however, passed a seat belt ordinance, allowing local officers to pull you over for that reason alone. Although seat belt tickets don’t effect driving records, they’re no fun to pay.
On the topic of buckling up, Car seat laws are a hot topic among Missouri lawmakers right now.
According to CrashStats, motor vehicle traffic crashes are the leading cause of death among children. The injury outcome of a child can be significant worse than an adult suffering similar accident. The anatomy of a toddler is much more fragile, which is fair.
State Representative Brandon Ellington, D-Kansas City, introduced a precautionary bill earlier this year. All children under the age of 2 would be required to be strapped into a rear-facing car seat.
Read more about Missouri’s current child restraint laws here.
And last but not least, open containers. While it is illegal for a driver to consume alcohol while driving, it’s still legal to be in possession of an open beverage. Passengers of age are permitted to possessing an open alcoholic beverage in an operating vehicle.
A large fault, Advocates noted, in Missouri’s traffic safety laws included the lack of a state ban on having open containers of alcohol in vehicles. Understandably, for the safety of everyone else on the road. It is fair that not having an open container would be less tempting to a driver. As well as less of a probable cause.