JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A bill that would ban texting while driving in Missouri heads to the governor’s desk after clearing the Senate on Thursday.
Missouri is one of only two US states without a law that prohibits people over 21 from texting while driving. Right now, it is only considered illegal for drivers 21 and under to text and drive.
SB 56, sponsored by State Sen. Jason Bean (R-District 25), would require hands-free cell phone use for drivers of all ages.
Penalties would depend on the violations. According to the bill, there would be enhanced penalties for repeat offenders, violations occurring in a work zone when workers are present, violations occurring in a school zone, and violations that are result in property damage, personal injury, or death.
The bill also allows car dealers to collect sales tax on vehicles before the buyer leaves the car lot. Customers would be required to pay a lump sum before they can take home a car, or the sales tax would be rolled into monthly payments. Other bills had brought forth this concept earlier in the legislative session.
If approved by Gov. Mike Parson, the bill would take effect this August.