Notable Missouri Driving Laws
Located in the heart of the Ozarks, Missouri is well-known for having some dangerous highways. Considering this, it is crucial that anyone driving in the state knows some of the most often overlooked and important road rules or driving laws from the State's Department of Transportation. Here are five things you need to know.
While you already know that Missouri is one of the few states without a complete ban on texting while driving, there are other forms of distracted driving that may be cause for concern. Distracted driving is known as anything that provides a visual, manual, or cognitive distraction while on the road. Activities like eating or drinking, adjusting the climate or radio, or simply talking to passengers could have potentially dangerous consequences. In fact, forms of distracted driving are found in almost one-third of driver-error accidents in Missouri.
Although there are only limitations put in place regarding cell phone use for commercial drivers or drivers under the age of 21, it is still imperative that drivers of any age or occupation keep their eyes and mind on the road and hands on the wheel.
Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence is a persistent problem across the country. Not only can it have potentially dangerous consequences for the driver, but it also has proven to cause catastrophic injuries or even death to victims in these accidents. Because of the severity of this issue, Missouri has DUI penalties that vary depending on your case. Here is what they could look like:
- First Offense: up to six months of jail time, fines up to $1,000, 30-day license suspension followed by 60 days restricted license, and possibly installing an ignition interlock device (IID).
- Second Offense: up to one year of jail time, fines up to $2,000, 5-year license revocation, and six months minimum with an IID installed.
- Third Offense: up to four years of jail time, up to $10,000 in fines, 10-year license revocation, and six months minimum with an IID installed.
Missouri also observes an implied consent law that requires drivers who are arrested for a DUI to submit to a blood, breath, saliva, or urine test. Choosing to refuse this test could result in a one-year license revocation and IID requirement.
Car Seats and Seat Belts
The Missouri State Highway Patrol requires that all front-seat passengers, the driver, and backseat passengers younger than 16 years old must wear a seat belt. The state also outlines safety restraint requirements for children:
- 4 years old and younger, or less than 40 lbs, must be in a size-appropriate car seat.
- 4-7-year-olds, weighing at least 40 lbs, must be in an appropriate car seat or booster seat until they reach 80 lbs or 4’9”.
- 8 years old and older, or weighing at least 80 lbs and 4’9”, must be secured in a safety belt or buckled into a booster seat.
Drivers maintain the responsibility of ensuring that child passengers are in the appropriate safety restraints for their height and weight.
The Missouri Move Over Law
According to the Missouri Department of Transportation Move Over law, every motor vehicle shall yield the right-of-way by changing lanes or reducing their speed when approaching any stationary vehicle with flashing red, red and blue, amber, or amber and white lights.
Failing to do so not only impacts the safety of those in your vehicle, but it could potentially cause injuries or other complications for emergency workers. As such, if a motorist does not abide by this law, they could face fines and imprisonment. You can learn more about this here.
Rights and Responsibilities of Motorists After an Accident
Under Missouri law, you are required to stop if involved in an accident, and not doing so can result in legal action. Motorists involved in an accident are also required to report it to the Driver's License Bureau if it meets three points:
- Occurred less than a year ago,
- Involved an uninsured motorist AND
- Caused property damage more than $500 or if someone was injured or killed.
A driver can also choose to report an accident involving an uninsured motorist to the Driver’s License Bureau, regardless if property damage, injury, or death occurred.
Responsibility to Pay for Damages
Drivers who are at fault for the accident are required by law to pay for the damages of which they are liable. If found at fault for an accident and fail to pay for damages, your driver’s license and license plates can be suspended for a year.
More Missouri Driving Questions? We Have Answers
Our St. Louis personal injury attorneys have a vested interest in keeping everyone safe on the roads and encourage defensive driving techniques whenever possible. However, sometimes even when you follow all the road rules, another driver may not and cause an accident. If you or a loved one is injured by the negligence of another driver, call (314) 684-8285 to get in touch with a member of our team today.