Missouri’s Cellphone-Use & Texting-While-Driving Laws

Read about Missouri’s distracted driving laws and the costs of a violation.

Missouri is one of the few states that don’t have state-wide distracted driving laws that apply to all drivers. Currently, Missouri has distracted driving restrictions only for commercial drivers and drivers who are 21 years old or younger.

Distracted Driving Restrictions

Missouri’s distracted driving law applies to commercial drivers and drivers who are 21 years of age or younger. However, the restrictions that apply to these two groups of drivers are different.

Restrictions for Drivers Who Are 21 Years Old or Younger

Motorists who are 21 years old or younger are prohibited from operating a motor vehicle while sending, reading, or writing a text or electronic message using a hand-held device. However, these younger drivers are still free to talk on a hand-held cellphone while driving.

Restrictions for Commercial Drivers

Commercial drivers are prohibited from operating a commercial vehicle while using a hand-held cellphone for phone calls or wireless communication device to send, read, or write a text or electronic message.

Exceptions to Distracted Driving Restrictions

Missouri’s distracted driving law contains a number of exceptions that apply to underage and commercial drivers alike. These drivers are permitted to use electronic devices:

  • while lawfully parked or stopped
  • that are factory-installed or aftermarket GPS devices
  • to report illegal activity
  • to summon medical or other emergency help
  • to prevent injury to a person or property, and
  • to relay information between a transit or for-hire operator and the operator’s dispatch (where the device is permanently affixed to the vehicle).

Also, the distracted driver restrictions don’t apply to law enforcement, fire department officials, and ambulance personnel performing official duties.

Distracted Driving Penalties

A distracted driving violation is an infraction and considered a moving violation. A conviction will generally result in $85 in fines and court costs and two traffic violation points being assessed to the motorist’s driving record.

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