COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Missouri held its Highway and Traffic Conference with one topic of focus on texting while driving.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, each fatal Missouri crash caused by distracted driving results in $9.9 million in comprehensive cost, including $1.5 million in economic costs like emergency services, legal cost, property damage and lost wages and benefits.
Adrienne Siddens lost her husband Randall in 2019 because of a distracted driver on her phone. She said consider your loved ones you will be leaving if something goes wrong.
"You don't want to go through it. You don't want to spend months with someone you love in the hospital. Think about you know the person you care about the most," said Siddens.
While a quick check of a phone may only take a quick second it could change someone's entire life. Krista Shouse-Jones is the city of Columbia Coordinator for "Vision Zero" and a former Columbia Police officer.
She says when people make the choice to use their phone while driving, they are choosing to risk someone else's life. "Whatever that text is, whatever that phone call is, it is never more important than somebody's safety and life. I think the message really is that simple. Stay off your phone when you're in your car"
State Rep. Jeff Porter believes a ban on texting and driving for everyone will show positive results.
Right now, Missouri currently bans anyone 21 and younger from texting and driving. Rep. Porter said that he plans on introducing a ban on texting while driving law for all ages.
Ron Bentch is the Project Director for Missourians for Responsible Transportation. He is also the Chairman for Missouri Hands-Free Coalition.
Their organization's purpose is to help advance hands-free legislation and make roadways safer. Bentch said individuals can do a number of things to help the organization.
"You can join our coalition. We meet every month, it's usually an hour zoom call you can join. You can join us at the Capitol for some Capitol days. we have one scheduled this year for Jan. 12 where we will go and we will talk and go around and meet with different legislators," said Bentch.
Missouri is one of two states that doesn't have a law banning everyone from texting and driving. The state is also one of eight states without a hands-free driving law.