Although young drivers are historically the ones who get a bad rap for their poor cellphone habits while behind the wheel, a recently released report indicates that older drivers are quickly catching up to their younger counterparts when it comes to one particularly bad driving practice: surfing the web when they should be paying attention to the road.

According to State Farm’s annual research report on distracted driving, the percentage of drivers who own smartphones – which are capable of accessing the internet in addition to making phone calls and texting – has increased substantially in recent years, especially for drivers aged thirty and above. Moreover, the report found that in a mere five years – from 2009 to 2013 – the percentage of drivers who use their smartphones to access the internet while driving has almost doubled from only 13 percent to 24 percent.

While texting certainly continues to be a serious problem for highway safety, the findings contained in the recent report indicate that the new threats posed by web surfing may be just as significant, if not more – meaning additional steps will be needed in order to decrease cellphone use among drivers.

Missouri cellphone laws

Undoubtedly, cellphone use while driving is an unneeded distraction, particularly given the fact that cellphone distraction can easily lead to car accidents, which often result in injuries or even death. Given how distracting cellphone use can be while behind the wheel, several states have passed legislation aimed at reducing the dangerous practice, including Missouri.

While Missouri does not have a complete ban on cellphones while driving, there are several provisions under state law that restrict cellphone use in many circumstances. For instance, Missouri law expressly prohibits drivers aged 21 and under from using hand-held electronic communications devices, such as cellphones, to read, write or send text messages while operating a motor vehicle.

Missouri lawmakers also passed additional laws earlier this year that further limit cellphone use for other groups of drivers. Specifically, the new laws ban texting and talking on hand-held cellphones for all commercial drivers in Missouri, regardless of age – although noncommercial drivers can continue to use hand-held cellphones to make calls while behind the wheel.

However, it is important to note that just because a practice is legal – such as a talking on a cellphone while driving, or texting if over 21 – that does not mean that it is not dangerous or that the driver will not be liable if he or she gets into a car accident. In fact, drivers need to be held accountable for all of their driving habits, especially the ones that cause injuries to others.

Accordingly, if a distracted driver has injured you or a love one, it is important to seek the counsel of a knowledgeable car accident attorney. An experienced attorney can assist in investigating your accident and help ensure you are awarded all damages that you may be entitled to.