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Finally a Law Banning Texting While Driving in KC (Hopefully)

The Kansas City Star Editorial Board wrote a piece recently praising an ordinance proposed to ban texting while driving in Kansas City. The board points out, as I did in a recent blog post, that despite the overwhelming evidence of its dangers to our roads, using your phone while driving remains legal in Missouri. What’s more, bills that have been introduced in Missouri’s legislature to address the problem have died in both chambers. The Kansas City Council decided to take action, and a bill banning the habit has passed though the committee unanimously.

As a personal injury lawyer with over a decade of experience working on car crash cases, the most common source of driver distraction in the Kansas City-area car crash cases I’ve handled has been phone distraction. There has been at least some evidence of phone distraction, enough evidence to make it more likely than not that it was the distraction, in approximately 71% of the car crash cases I’ve handled in the last year.

My own experience in uncovering evidence of phone distraction in my Kansas City crash cases is greater than national crash statistics. According to a 2014 report of the National Safety Council, 26% of crashes in that year were caused by phone distraction. Perhaps the difference is due to the methodology. In my cases, I actively searched for evidence of phone use with subpoenas and eyewitness statements. The study, on the other hand, relied on data reported by local law enforcement agencies. Phone use is historically underreported by police officers responding to crash scenes. It may be that the my statistics and the national statistics are actually more in line.

Regardless, the statistics are troubling. Kudos, therefore, to the Kansas City Council for taking the initiative to ban this dangerous habit and for trying to make our streets safer.

To learn more about the dangers of distracted driving, visit our #JustDriveKC page.

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