by Carlo Longino

Filed Under:
driving, missouri, teens, texting

Missouri: Text Messaging While Driving Is Fine, As Long As You're Over 21

from the disparate-impact dept

Laws that ban individual activities -- like cell phone use -- while driving are often little more than political hype. Singling out specific activities for bans doesn't do much to address the root problem of unsafe driving, which remains the issue regardless of its cause, while also generating the implication that if a specific action while driving hasn't been banned, it's okay and safe. Nevertheless, plenty of states have moved forward with laws banning talking on cell phones while driving, and more recently, texting. Next, they'll have to ban using the mobile web, or IM, or playing Tetris on your phone while driving, since they've left these (and plenty of other activities) out, but we digress... In any case, Missouri's legislature has taken the silliness one step further by banning texting while driving, but only for drivers under the age of 21. If you accept the supposed need for these sorts of laws, how could you argue they should only apply to those under 21? What happens on a person's 21st birthday that suddenly makes texting while driving acceptable and safe? Answers in the comments, please...

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  1. identicon
    Bob, 16 Jul 2009 @ 5:11pm

    21 years of age

    What happens at age 21 is not magic, but you need a cutoff somewhere, don't you? Whether it's alcohol or driving laws, no state is saying something magical happens between the day before and the day of your 21st birthday. What do you suggest besides an arbitrary date, a test that shows you're ready for alcohol or driving while texting? Do we allow 14 year olds to take the test, or will 12 year olds be pissed if we set an arbitrary date older than they are.

    The state of Missouri is concerned about the divided attention that talking/texting causes, not that a hand is off the wheel or eyes are off the road. Your mind is actually diverted from the task of driving, almost to the point of feeling like you're relaxing at home.

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