Is it Legal to Talk on the Phone While Driving in Missouri?

With the rise of cell phone use over the past several years, distracted driving has also increased. Distracted driving can include eating, talking to a passenger, drifting off in thought, or anything else that requires the driver’s attention and takes it away from the task of driving. Distracted driving substantially increases the risk of an accident.

While it would be impossible to ban all types of distracted driving, most states do have a partial ban on texting while driving. Missouri is one of the few exceptions, allowing unlimited cell phone use for all drivers over 21. This includes talking, texting, playing games, and more.

However, drivers can still be penalized for distracted driving. Even though using your phone while driving is not illegal, distracted driving can and often does lead to other traffic violations, such as running traffic lights, which can then be ticketed.

And just because using your phone while driving won’t get you criminal charges, doesn’t you mean you won’t potentially face civil charges if you cause an accident that harms someone else.

Missouri Statistics on Distracted Driving

  • Missouri is one of four states that do not have a blanket ban on using phones while driving. The others include Arizona, Montana, and Texas.
  • Missouri has one of the highest incidences of distracted driving accidents in the country, with 21,058 automotive accidents attributed to distracted driving in 2017, more than speeding and drunk driving accidents for the state.
  • According to the CDC 2o15 Youth Risk Behavior Study, 47% of Missouri teens admit to texting and driving, making Missouri the seventh-highest state for teen distracted driving.


There are some restrictions to these laws. For commercial drivers and drivers under the age of 21, texting while driving is not permitted. If police officers see someone who looks young using their phone while on the road, they can penalize the driver directly, even if no other violations occurred because of their distracted driving.

There are several exceptions for young drivers in Missouri. They can legally use their phone anytime they are stopped, when they need to access a GPS, and to report illegal activity. However, the legality of these exceptions does not make them any less dangerous to when a car is in motion.

The one other restriction that is in place in Missouri is for commercial drivers. Like young drivers, they are not allowed to use their phones while they drive. While there has been legislation proposed in Missouri to tighten cell phone use and distracted driving laws, only these two restrictions have been successfully passed.


Anyone under 21 who is pulled over for texting and driving can be fined up to $200. That driver will also receive demerit points on their license. Both young and old drivers could also face consequences due to any driving violations resulting from distracted driving. Distracted driving often precedes unintentional reckless driving.

Insurance rates can also go up because of distracted driving. For young people who are pulled over, it can cause their rates to go up. For all ages, if an accident occurs that was caused by distracted driving, this can cause rates to rise.


If you are driving on the highway at 60 miles per hour, you are traveling a mile a minute. If you look at your phone for just 10 seconds, you are traveling 880 feet in that time without looking at the road, and your chances of getting into a severe accident increase.

Each time someone drives without paying complete attention to the road, they are putting themselves and others directly in harm’s way. Law enforcement puts a big emphasis on texting and driving, but other factors can also distract you from the road. Anytime someone adjusts their music, looks at the GPS, or takes a picture, they are not paying full attention to the road ahead.

Most automotive accidents are caused by distracted driving. While it may be legal in Missouri to talk on the phone while driving, it is still hazardous. Protect both yourself and other drivers by choosing to keep your eyes, ears, and hands focused on the task of driving at all times.

If a Distracted Driver Injured You, Get the Justice You Deserve

If you were involved in a car accident due to someone else’s distracted driving, contact our St. Louis car accident lawyers today. Cofman Townsley lawyers have the experience needed to get you the compensation you deserve. Our lawyers can help you establish your case and assist you in getting your settlement to cover the financial burden of your injuries. Contact Cofman Townsley 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for a free, no-obligation consultation.