A person is texting while driving.

(Dreamstime)

Missouri, Montana are last states without a ban on texting while driving

Currently in Missouri texting and driving is only illegal for anyone under 21-years-old

April 23, 2019 - 10:31 am
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(KMOX/AP) - Arizona has become the 48th state to officially make texting while driving illegal – leaving Missouri and Montana as the last places in the U.S. without a law banning all texting while driving.

The comprehensive cellphone law, which was signed Monday by Governor Doug Ducey, also bans talking on a cellphone while driving, which made Arizona the 18th state to outlaw behind-the-wheel cellphone usage. In signing the law, Ducey noted, "Let's send a message that that text message can wait. It's not worth your life."

Missouri could join the 48 other states in banning cellphone use with driving this year.

Senate Bill 15 was introduced in Jefferson City, Mo. in January, which would create a full ban across the state on texting, or talking on the phone, while driving. 

If passed, any driver found to be using their cellphone while driving would face up to a $100 fine.

Only Montana and Missouri don't have laws banning texting while driving, but Missouri does currently have a law against drivers under the age of 21 texting while driving.

Missouri State Highway Patrol wrote 63 citations for texing while driving in 2017, 76 citations in 2016 and 57 in 2015. 

In Arizona, bills to restrict phone use while driving had been introduced for years but weren't advanced amid concerns by Republican lawmakers about creating a "nanny state" that overregulates behavior.

The death of a police officer hit by a distracted driver last winter, heartbreaking stories from others who lost loved ones in car crashes linked to cellphone use, and a wave of restrictions enacted by local governments across the state convinced lawmakers the time was ripe for change.

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