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Carefree Drive

December 6, 2017


By: Melody Cox

COLUMBIA - Missouri laws on distracted driving are very exact in their language, but some residents of the state report confusion about the specifics.

    “I’m uncertain about the laws, however it’s very bad to drive distracted and that should be common sense,” Loriana Sekarski, a Columbia resident since 2011, said.

    The current Missouri law bans texting while driving for anyone 21 years old and younger and commercial drivers (bus drivers, semi-truck drivers, etc.), according to Missouri State law.

    It does allow authorized emergency vehicles to use cellphones while operating the vehicle, according to Missouri State Law.

It also allows anyone to make a phone call while driving according to the Section 304-5.

    Columbia has its own laws concerning distracted driving, called the careful and prudent driving law according to the Section 14-236 of the Code of Ordinances, it follows along with the state’s laws.

    The current law in Columbia is that, “every person operating or driving a motor vehicle shall drive and operate the same in a careful and prudent manner and shall exercise at all times the highest degree of care in the operation of the same,” according Columbia City Ordinances.

    This ordinance is saying that any person that drives a car in Columbia needs to do so in a safe and careful way and must do so at all times while operating the vehicle.

    The Columbia City Council is proposing new additions to existing ordinances to help clarify what it means to drive distractedly.

    “We already have a form of a distracted driving ordinance in place called the careful and prudent driving. This would be adding language to that ordinance on distracted driving behaviors,” Heather Cole, the Vision Zero Program Manager, said.

    If residents are interested in learning more about distracted driving laws, they can find more information on Columbia city’s website and on Missouri’s law database.  

UPDATE: The Columbia City Council voted and passed an ordinance making distracted driving illegal within the city limits in late 2017. 

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