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Missouri remains as one of two states without a complete ban on texting and driving

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It's legal for most drivers to text and drive in Missouri but state agencies keep telling people not to do it.

Even though drivers don't admit they text and drive, they said they see enough of it.

"Every time I get out, I see people texting and driving. I don't think many people realize how detrimental it can be and that it's not a good thing to do," said driver Molly Broughton.

The CDC says approximately 9 people are killed and more than 1,000 injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver, every day.

MoDOT continues to push it's Buckle Up Phone Down initiative, urging drivers to pay attention to the roads and limit their distractions.

"It's texting, talking, some people are streaming movies as they drive down the road, all sorts of things you shouldn't be doing with your phone," said Brian Untiedt with MoDOT.

But Missouri only bans those under 21 from texting and driving. MoDOT officials said a ban for all drivers may not stop everyone from doing it but it would help.

"We think it would. We try not to get into the law side of it. That's where our elected officials decide what the right thing to do on that is but most people want to follow the law and be honest and do that so it would help," said Untiedt.

Meanwhile, teen drivers like Broughton said when in the car with friends, the driver hands their phone to a passenger so they don't drive distracted.

"If we're going on a road trip, normally the person in the passenger seat will be in charge of the phone and the music playing," said Broughton.

WGEM reached out to northeast Missouri lawmakers but only heard back from State Senator Cindy O'Laughlin and State Representative Louis Riggs.

Both are republicans, O'Laughlin sent a statement that reads in part…"Legislators are looking at possible solutions knowing that the enforcement of those solutions will be difficult. Missouri is different than Illinois, we treasure personal freedom."

Meanwhile, on the phone Riggs said there are 3 bills banning texting and driving that are making their way through the house. He says if one reaches the floor he will vote for it.

Missouri is one of only two states without a law prohibiting everyone from texting and driving. Montana is the other.

In Illinois, it is illegal to use a cell phone in any way unless you have a hands free or blue tooth device.

Meanwhile in Iowa, drivers over the age of 18 can only use their phones to talk while driving or as a GPS navigation system.

Brett Knese

Multi-Media Journalist at WGEM News.

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