KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Texting and driving will soon be banned for all ages in both Kansas and Missouri, but there are other actions that could get drivers in trouble depending on what side of the state line they’re on.

Missouri’s new distracted driving law takes effect Aug. 28 after Gov. Mike Parson signed the bill in July.

The state’s current law only bans texting and driving for those 21 and under, but the new law will impact all drivers. That makes Missouri the 49th state to prohibit texting and driving, with only Montana not having any ban in place.

But it’s been illegal to text and drive in Kansas for years.

Despite the two states sharing a border, there are some differences between the states’ laws. Here’s what drivers should know:


Missouri drivers might be surprised to find out even holding your phone while driving will soon be banned under the state’s new law.

While it obviously covers sending text messages, the new law also bans holding a phone, making calls and reading messages.

The law prohibits drivers from:

  • Manually typing, writing, sending or reading text-based messages;
  • Recording, posting, sending or broadcasting video, including video calls and social media posts;
  • Watching a video or movie;
  • Physically holding or supporting a cell phone with any part of their body.

However, hands-free phone use will still be allowed, as well as using phones for navigation, making emergency calls and listening to podcasts or music.

Enforcement and penalties

Although the new law goes into effect Aug. 28, it outlines that penalties won’t start until 2025. Until then, drivers will receive a warning.

But starting in 2025, a first-time violation will result in a fine of up to $150 and can increase up to $500 for multiple violations within two years. After that, additional penalties can occur.

Missouri drivers should know the new texting and driving law is considered a secondary enforcement, like the state’s seat belt law. It means law enforcement can only write the citation after pulling a driver over for something else.


Texting while driving is also prohibited under Kansas law, but there’s an exception for hands-free cell phone use, like voice operations or talk-to-text.

There are other exceptions as well, like for law enforcement officers and emergency personnel or for drivers making calls to first responders.

Kansas law also allows drivers to still make and receive phone calls while drivers.

However, experts stress that just because talking on the phone is legal doesn’t mean it’s safe. They advise going hands-free with your phone calls as well or waiting until you’ve arrived safely to your destination.

Permit drivers, however, are not allowed to use a communication device for any purpose, whether that’s making a call, sending a text or scrolling on social media.

Enforcement and penalties

Drivers who are caught texting and driving can receive a $60 fine, smaller than the fines will soon be in Missouri.

But Kansas drivers should know the state treats texting and driving as a primary enforcement, meaning law enforcement doesn’t need another reason to pull a driver over.