Hands-Free Law goes into effect for Missouri

Cape Girardeau, Mo. (KBSI) – Missouri Governor Mike Parson signed a new hands-free cell phone law on Monday. The law prohibits drivers from using handheld cell phones while driving and is effective immediately.

“Hopefully save lives across Missouri, cause that’s what we’re trying to do,” says Rachel Penny, who is the TRACTION Coordinator for the Cape Girardeau Police Department. The program teaches young drivers the dangers of distracted driving.

Penny says the new hands-free law is important due to the amount of distracted driving happening today.

Penny states, “Now your phone in your hand, it’s like constant, but anything that takes your attention away from driving, is just another danger.”

Mya French is a senior at Notre Dame High School in Cape Girardeau and she says after attending the TRACTION program this past summer, her eyes are more open to distracted driving. French says, “As somebody who does drive, I’ve noticed it a whole bunch on the road, and it just kind of scares me.”

French says that she feels not a lot of people realize the dangers that driving while holding a cell phone can cause. She adds, “You just always need to think first, not just for yourself but for others.”

Cape Girardeau resident, Brandon Ratterman, expressed his excitement for the new law, “I think any policy that establishes safe driving, is a great policy.”

The Missouri Department of Transportation says distracted driving caused almost 200,000 wrecks across the state between 2012 and 2021.

Ratterman adds, “Distracted driving takes a lot of lives, for drivers and for the people that are surrounded by them.”

The hands-free law is a secondary law. If the law is violated, drivers can face a range of punishments, up to a Class D felony for a wreck involving death.


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