A recent study says that nearly half of teenagers in Missouri admit to texting while driving.

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of fatal traffic accidents both in Missouri and across the nation, largely due to the proliferation of smartphones. As the St. Louis Patch reports, a recent study has found that close to half of all teenagers in Missouri text and drive, meaning the Show-Me State has one of the highest teen text and drive rates in the country. While Missouri prohibits texting and driving for young drivers, it is one of only three states that does not have an all-ages ban on texting and driving.

Teenagers texting and driving

The study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health analyzed data from the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which included more than 100,000 young respondents from 35 states. The data showed that nationwide 38 percent of teenagers admitted to texting and driving. However, in Missouri 47 percent of teens say they have texted while behind the wheel. That means Missouri has the seventh-highest rate of teen texting and driving in the country. The state with the highest rate of teen texting and driving was South Dakota at 64 percent, while Maryland had the lowest rate at 26 percent.

Generally, the older drivers got, the more likely they were to text while driving. The survey, however, only asked respondents whether they used their phones to text or email behind the wheel. It did not ask whether they used their phones while driving for other purposes, like making calls or checking social media.

Missouri lacks texting and driving ban

The high rate of teen texting and driving in Missouri will draw more criticism of the state’s lack of an all-ages ban on texting and driving. As the News-Press reports, two bills to ban texting and driving for adults failed to become law earlier this year. That means Missouri, along with Arizona and Montana, remains one of just three states that lacks a texting and driving ban for adults.

While Missouri does ban texting and driving for those under 18, it is important to remember that young drivers are more likely to text and drive if they see older drivers – especially their parents – doing so. Regardless of age, a person who reads a text message for just five seconds while driving 50 mph will have covered the length of a football field without watching the road.

Personal injury law

Anybody who has been hurt in a traffic accident needs to reach out to a personal injury attorney for help as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can help clients pursue the compensation they may be entitled to, especially if the accident may have been caused by another driver’s negligence or reckless behavior.