Licensed in Missouri and Kansas

Missouri Legislature Passes Hands Free Driving Law

Senate Bill 398 was recently signed into law in Missouri. The bill, called the “Siddens Bening Hands Free Law”, generally speaking, prohibits drivers from using a mobile device while driving. As a personal injury lawyers handling car crash cases in the Kansas City area for over a decade, Meyerkord, Russell & Hergott would like to explain some of the details of the law and how it could affect you.

What is prohibited?

Actions prohibited by the law while driving are broad. They include physically holding a phone, texting, emailing, using social media, making phone calls or sending voice messages (except hands-free calls), data retrieval, manually entering data into a phone (like typing a number, letter, or symbol), watching a video, remote video meetings like Zoom, or recording or videoing yourself with a phone.

Are there any exceptions?

Yes. The law does not apply to police officers or other law enforcement officials, tow truck drivers, and uber drivers. It also does not apply to 911 calls, voice-operated hands-free calls or messages, using permanently installed communication devices like dashboard screens, navigating, or listening to music.

What are the consequences?

First-time offenders are subject to a fine of up to $150.00. Second-time offenders are subject to a fine of up to $250.00, and third-time offenders are subject to a fine of up to $500.00. Regardless of the number of prior violations, any ticket you get in a work or school zone subjects you to a fine of up to $500.00. If you break this law and get into a crash and cause property damage, it’s a class D misdemeanor; and if you hurt someone in the crash, it’s a class B misdemeanor; and if you kill someone, its class D felony.

When does the law take effect?

The law takes effect in August of this year (2023). However, it includes a provision that requires police officers to issue warnings only until January 1, 2025.

If you have any questions about Missouri’s new hands-free driving law, please contact Meyerkord, Russell & Hergott at any time.