KC council committee approves ban on texting while driving

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A proposal to ban texting while driving for all motorists within the city limits has been approved by a city council committee Wednesday.

Proponents believe the ordinance will make city streets safer for all users.

This is part of the so-called “Vision Zero” initiative, a data-driven strategy to eliminate all traffic injuries and deaths in the next ten years.

Missouri is one of only two states that have not banned texting while driving for everyone behind the wheel.

“I would hate for us to be the last,” said Councilman Kevin McManus, sponsor of the ordinance. “That’s really what the impetus is for trying to put something forward. We have made this one of our legislative priorities at the state level. We are pushing our state legislators to take action. But in the interim, we really can’t afford to wait. We are the largest city in the state. We need to be a leader. I think this is a good first step.”

Currently state law only prohibits drivers under 21 from engaging in distractions while driving.

According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving caused 79 deaths on Missouri’s roads in 2018, and more than 7,300 injuries.

The city of Columbia, Missouri, already has adopted similar legislation.

The committee unanimously approved the measure.

McManus says it has the support of police and the city prosecutor but still must be approved by the full city council.

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