Tweeting Behind the Wheel Still “OK” in Missouri
I’m guilty. I like to text. Even when I drive.
The immediacy of it makes me feel productive. When I get an idea or remember something I need to take care of, I send a text message right then, even when I’m driving.
Now that I have a smart phone, I’m tempted more to post and tweet while driving. (Admittedly, the touch screen is a real deterrent. Without real buttons, I’m not good enough at it to make it worth it.)
I’m not defending it; and I’m not recommending it. I’m just fessing up.
So, fellow Missourians, join me in reviewing just what the law says regarding texting, tweeting, or posting on your “hand-held electronic wireless communications device” while driving.
It’s easy to sum up. If you’re over 21, go ahead. It’s legal to use your hand-held device to update your Facebook page or Tweet your followers while driving.
If you’re 21 or under, it’s illegal. But it’s perfectly fine to talk on your cell phone while driving.
Here are some interesting wrinkles:
- If you’re under 21 and you’re operating an “authorized emergency vehicle,” it’s legal to text.
- It’s legal to text under 21 if you’re:
– reporting a crime
– summoning emergency or medical help, or
– acting to prevent injury to a person or property.
- It’s legal to enter a person’s name in your cell phone for the purpose of making a call.
- You can’t be pulled over by a law enforcement officer solely to determine whether you’re complying with this law.
Even if you’re older than 22, driver beware. Five bills have been introduced in the Missouri legislature this year that would explicitly ban texting while driving. Others, if passed, will prohibit distracted driving or talking on a cell phone while driving.
One last note, your employer probably has a cell phone use prohibition while traveling on business. If not, it should.
One of the first things plaintiffs’ lawyers do after a major car accident: subpeona cell phone records. If you are using your cell phone for any business purpose, you’re on the job, and your company (presumably with deeper pockets) gets sued, too.
I think I’ll pull over.
Do you text or Tweet behind the wheel? Post your response below.