New push to tighten law on distracted driving
(Springfield, Mo.--05/07/18) The Springfield City Council is considering changing it's laws to tackle distracted driving. It can be hard to go anywhere without cell phones.
(Springfield, Mo.--05/07/18) The Springfield City Council is considering changing it's laws to tackle distracted driving.
It can be hard to go anywhere without cell phones. But looking down at them while driving can be dangerous, even deadly.
"There were 680 motor vehicle accidents last year attributed to this careless and distracted driving. So that’s a whole lot of accidents that could’ve been prevented if people we’re paying attention," explains Cora Scott, Spokesperson, City of Springfield.
That's why the Springfield City Council is discussing a proposal tonight on whether to require drivers to go completely hands free behind the wheel.
"This ordinance is aimed at is prohibiting activities such as texting, reading in particular, writing."
If the proposed ordinance passes, Scott says the ban would make any activities while driving such as but not limited to, texting, and looking at the rear view mirror for grooming illegal.
"We’re seeing more and more of that type of behavior which takes eyes and your mind off the road for an extended period of time."
Under the proposed law, violators could be fined up to $ 225. City administrators say if it involves an accident, the maximum fine would be $1,000.
"We’re really hoping that is serves a warning and caution to folks and to prevent them from doing it in the first place rather then focus on the fine that might occur."
Major Greg Higdon,Springfield Police Department, believes it will reduce accidents and possibly save lives.
"It’s another tool that we can use to keep the public safe both the motoring public, pedestrians that maybe crossing crosswalks. Whatever it might be we want to make sure and have a ordinance we can use to do that effectively and efficiently," says Higdon.
Although it's illegal for drivers in Missouri 21 years old and younger to text while driving. Higdon says the proposal ordinance would apply to drivers of all ages.
"Really need to be focusing on the roadway. When you’re driving you need to be paying attention what you’re doing, what other people are doing. It’s not always the people in your vehicle, somebody else might be distracted."
City council plans to vote on this bill in two weeks at their next council meeting.