Distracted Driving in St. Louis: Is Your Phone More Important Than Your Life?

The buzz of your phone breaks the silence. A glance at the screen seems harmless. But in those few seconds, your car swerves, and your attention is diverted from the road.

Distracted driving is a deadly problem in St. Louis, Missouri. In 2022, 84 Missourians lost their lives in crashes caused by inattention. We all share the road – drivers, bikers, and pedestrians – and distracted driving puts us all in danger. It’s time to ask ourselves a tricky question: Is any text, call, or distraction worth a life?

What is Distracted Driving?

Even safe drivers get distracted behind the wheel. Distracted driving is anything that takes your focus away from driving safely. It might seem harmless, but it’s a significant threat on our roads.

Sure, texting is the most obvious (and dangerous) distraction, but there are three main categories to watch out for:

  • Visual Distractions: Anything that makes you take your eyes off the road – checking your phone, adjusting the radio, or even looking at a billboard.
  • Manual Distractions: Anything that forces you to take your hands off the wheel – eating, changing songs, or digging through your bag.
  • Cognitive Distractions: Anything that diverts your mental focus – daydreaming, intense conversations, or even road rage.

Distracted driving crashes can change lives in an instant. Even the most careful drivers are vulnerable to someone else’s distraction, leading to devastating injuries, medical bills, missed work, and lasting emotional trauma.

If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by distracted driving, it’s crucial to understand your options. An experienced St. Louis personal injury attorney can help you fight for the compensation you deserve. They can navigate the legal complexities, handle insurance companies, and protect your rights.

Missouri drivers need to hear this: distracted driving is a significant cause of accidents in our state annually. It’s not just about teens or careless people—anyone can make a mistake that puts themselves and others at risk.

The Cost of Distracted Driving in St. Louis

Sadly, distracted driving is a significant factor in car accidents across the United States, and St. Louis is no exception. This pervasive problem impacts us all, leading to injuries, fatalities, and immense costs to our community. The CDC reports that an average of nine people die every day on U.S. highways due to distracted driving.

While getting a ticket for distracted driving is costly, the actual price is far higher and can be irreversible:

  • Injuries and Fatalities: Distracted driving can cause anything from minor injuries to life-altering disabilities or even death – for you, your passengers, or other drivers.
  • Emotional Trauma: The emotional scars of an accident can last a lifetime, leading to anxiety, PTSD, and fear of driving again.
  • Medical Expenses: Car accidents often result in astronomical medical bills for emergency care, surgery, hospitalization, and long-term rehabilitation.
  • Lost Wages and Future Earning Potential: Severe injuries may prevent you from working, impacting your income and future career prospects.
  • Property Damage: Repairing or replacing a damaged vehicle can be a significant financial burden.

Other Dangers on St. Louis Roads

Distracted driving is a significant threat to road safety but is not the only factor contributing to crashes. Here’s another severe risk we need to be aware of:


We’ve always pushed the speed limit by a few miles an hour. But speeding is a significant problem on St. Louis roads, responsible for a staggering 107 deaths in 2021 alone. According to TorHoerman Law, overspeeding is the biggest reason for car accidents under the age of 21 and over 55. The faster you drive, the more dangerous it becomes for several reasons:

  • Reduced reaction time: Speeding reduces the time you have to react to hazards like a child running into the road, a car pulling out in front of you, or sudden traffic congestion.
  • Increased crash risk: Higher speeds make crashes more likely, and the severity of injuries dramatically increases.

Drunk Driving

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal and a recklessly dangerous choice. Alcohol impairs your judgment, reaction time, and coordination, drastically increasing the risk of an accident.

Impaired driving accidents are devastatingly common in Missouri, accounting for 17% of total traffic fatalities. These aren’t just statistics – they represent shattered lives and families.

When you choose to drive impaired, you gamble with the lives of everyone on the road. The consequences can be severe: hefty fines, jail time, lost jobs, and the lifelong burden of causing severe injury or death.

Plan before a night out. Leave your car at home, arrange a safe ride, and protect yourself and everyone on the road. Driving drunk is never the answer.

Aggressive Driving

We’ve all encountered it on St. Louis roads: drivers who tailgate, weave through traffic, honk excessively, or even engage in full-blown road rage. Aggressive driving is more than just rude – it’s dangerous and contributes to many crashes. In 2023, St. Louis Police reported 12,025 crashes, a staggering 40% being hit-and-runs.

Aggressive driving creates a hostile environment on the road, making other drivers nervous, increasing the chance of mistakes, and escalating situations needlessly. Don’t risk your safety or the lives of others over traffic frustrations. Take a deep breath, slow down, and focus on reaching your destination safely.


How Much Is the Fine for Being on Your Phone While Driving in Missouri?

While Missouri has a hands-free law, the fines for violating it are relatively complex. The amount varies depending on your age and whether you have previous offenses.  There’s a grace period, and only warnings are being issued.  Starting in January 2025, fines will range from $150 to $500.

What Is the Distracted Driving Law in Missouri?

Missouri’s “Siddens Bening Hands-Free Law” prohibits drivers from holding or supporting a cell phone with their body while driving. You cannot manually type, send, or read texts, record videos, or browse social media. The law aims to reduce accidents caused by distracted driving and make Missouri roads safer.

Which State Has the Strictest Distracted Driving Law?

No single state has the absolute strictest laws, as different states emphasize various aspects. Some, like Oregon, have the harshest penalties for texting. Others, like Delaware, focus heavily on enforcement.  Many states, including California, New York, and Washington, have broad bans on handheld device usage while driving, with limited exceptions.

What Age Are the Most Distracted Drivers?

Younger drivers, especially those in their teens and early twenties, are the most likely to be distracted while driving. This is often due to the increased use of technology like smartphones and inexperience behind the wheel, which can make them more susceptible to distractions in general.

What Can You Do?

Traffic accidents are serious, but they can be prevented. Every St. Louis driver has the power to make our roads safer. Here’s how you can make a difference:

  • Use “Do Not Disturb” mode: It silences your phone until you arrive.
  • Plan ahead: Set your GPS and playlists before you start driving.
  • Need to text/call? Pull over: Find a safe spot to park first.

Distractions come in many forms. Stay focused by:

  • Eating/Drinking Before You Drive: Don’t try to multitask while driving.
  • Addressing Passenger Needs: Kids arguing? Pull over to sort it out when safe.
  • Keeping Pets Properly Restrained: A loose dog is a distraction hazard.

These choices might seem small, but they can save lives – maybe even of your own or loved ones. You’re making St. Louis a safer place whenever you choose to drive distraction-free.

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