Missouri has a relatively new (and rarely if ever enforced) law that bans texting-and-driving, statewide, for drivers under the age of 21.  In a February post on this blog, it was revealed that “fewer than 4 people a month” have been cited since the law was enacted in 2009. Few drivers, and even fewer officers, seem to even know that the law exists.  Missouri is only one of nine states that does not have have an across-the-board statewide ban on texting-and-driving.  But signs are now pointing towards a shift in Missouri’s prevention of this dangerous activity that we’re all guilty of from time to time.

Yesterday, the West County suburb of Manchester became the most high-profile municipality in the area to enact a texting-and-driving law.  The new law makes it illegal for ANYONE, regardless of age, to use handheld devices to send, read, or write a text or email while driving.

Manchester Police chief Mike Walsh told the Post-Dispatch that first offenses will be met with a warning.  However, repeated offenses can be costly, with a third offense carrying a penalty of up to a $500 fine and a mandatory 3 days in jail.  The law is effective immediately, and Manchester will not post any signs warning drivers of the new law.

As with any traffic offenses, should you fall victim to any traffic violation, regardless of severity, it is important to contact an attorney to save your driving privileges and keep your insurance rates low.