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Lawmakers experience texting and driving firsthand

By Madison Burke, Jefferson City Reporter, madison.burke@kmiz.com
Published On: Apr 15 2014 05:58:54 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 15 2014 06:12:17 PM CDT

Texting and driving simulator at the Capitol

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -

There is another push by some Missouri lawmakers to ban texting and driving in Missouri for everyone. Right now it is illegal for anyone under 21.

Today, lawmakers had a chance to experience the dangers firsthand.

Using a simulator, lawmakers saw just how quickly a crash happens when texting and driving.

The National Safety Council reports texting and driving is involved in more than 200,000 crashes each year.

This simulator brought in more than just a statistic to lawmakers though. It let them see just how dangerous texting and driving is.

Sen. Mike Kehoe did better than most, crashing after about three minutes.

"I ended up getting hit by another car while I was trying to answer a question about what kind of pizza I like. So, it really does help prove the point," said Kehoe.

This simulator generated a lot of discussion among lawmakers. Chairman of the House Transportation Committee, Dave Schatz says he's looking to expand the existing law to people of all ages, but he didn't stop there.

"What we really need to focus on is distracted driving in general. There's other forms of distracted driving other than just texting. I'm trying to advocate how do we best move something forward that addresses that issue. Not just texting alone," said Schatz.

Schatz also says there is a lot of discussion in his committee right now on how enforcement of this expanded law would work. 

"I'm not sure that I'm settled on one or how the penalty phase would structure in that. So, we're working on that," said Schatz.

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