A recent report found that distracted driving now causes nine deaths per day.

When driving on the roads in Missouri, it is commonplace to see other drivers engaging in bad behaviors like putting on makeup, texting, talking on a cellphone or other such distracting activities. Although countless campaigns have extolled the virtues of staying focused on the task of driving, many drivers cannot resist the temptation to multitask while behind the wheel.

However, new data that was recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may make many drivers put down their cellphones. A new report from the CDC found that distracting driving claims the lives of about nine people each day across the United States. In addition to fatal car accidents, distracted driving is also a major cause of driver injuries. The report found that about 1,060 drivers and passengers are injured each day in accidents caused by driver distraction.

Unfortunately, the problem of distracted driving is getting worse, according to the report. It was found that 3,331 people were killed by distracted driving in 2011-the latest year with statistics available-which is a significant increase from a year earlier. Unfortunately, these figures are likely too low, as the CDC’s report noted that the data came from police accident reports, which heavily rely on the account of those involved in the accident. Since many drivers do not own up to using a cellphone (or other distracting device) when recounting their version of the events to the police, the actual number of those killed by distracted driving is likely much higher than these figures suggest.

Missouri law and distracted drivers

As distracted driving is a well-known problem, many states have enacted laws that restrict the use of cellphones and other distracting devices while driving. However, the Missouri Legislature has opted not to join these states. As a result, there is no law banning cellphone or texting in the state for the majority of drivers. There is, however, a ban on texting for young drivers that are learning to drive or that have just received their licenses.

Despite the lack of a comprehensive ban on cellphones and other devices in The Show Me State, drivers that injure another because they were distracted can face legal consequences. Under the law, drivers must operate their vehicles in a way that does not subject others to an unreasonable risk of harm. Drivers that fail to meet this legal obligation are considered negligent.

In Missouri, negligent drivers can be held financially liable for any injures or fatalities caused by their negligence (i.e., being distracted while driving). Under the law, injured parties (or families of deceased parties) may recover damages for expenses such as pain and suffering, medical and hospital bills and loss of income in a personal injury (or wrongful death) lawsuit.

If you have been injured (or a loved one has been killed) because of an accident caused by an inattentive driver, it is wise to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney can work to ensure that the responsible driver is held legally accountable for his or her negligence.