JEFFERSON CITY, MO - After making six previous attempts to pass legislation limiting drivers' cell phone use, state lawmakers in Missouri finally succeeded in the last session.
With the new ban in effect, Missouri becomes the 15th state in the U.S. to ban text messaging, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. This year alone, eight new states have passed broad texting while driving bans. Click here for a full list of states that ban text messaging.
On July 9, Gov. Jay Nixon signed an omnibus crime bill that makes sending, reading, and writing text messages while driving against the law for people 21 and younger. The provision was introduced by Rep. Scott Lipke (R-Cape Girardeau/Perry).
An attempt by Rep. Joe Smith (R-St. Charles) to push through limits on hand-held cell phone use failed.
Surprisingly, the group that has lobbied most vigorously against state restrictions on in-vehicle cell phone use has been the state's real estate industry.
"The simple fact is, [realtors] are in their car a lot and they use their phones for business," Sam Licklider, a lobbyist for the Missouri Association of Realtors, told the Columbia Missourian.
According to a study conducted earlier this year, one in four Americans said they text-message while driving.