Navigating Hands-Free Laws: Missouri vs. Kansas

/ / Car Accidents, Law, Trucking Accidents
Distracted man using cell phone while driving.

Distracted driving has become a prevalent issue on roads across the nation, prompting all but one state to enact hands-free laws. Missouri recently took a tougher stance on this menace invading American roads with the Siddens-Bening Hands-Free Law.

Kansas already has stringent laws in place to deter motorists from giving in to the temptation of texting while driving. Continue reading to know more about these laws.

Missouri Hands-Free Law

The Siddens Bening Hands-Free Law of the state means serious business. It is a comprehensive approach to promote safer driving by addressing the broader spectrum of distractions caused by electronic devices.

The law is applicable to all drivers, regardless of age or experience, and it covers various forms of electronic communication, including texting, viewing social media, and emailing. Here is what will get you in trouble under this newly enacted law.

  1. No Physically Holding or Supporting: Keep that cell phone away from any part of your body while driving.
  2. No Texting Maneuvers: Say no to typing, writing, sending, or reading text messages manually.
  3. Hands Off the Camera: Forget about recording, posting, sending, or broadcasting videos—no video calls or social media updates on the road.
  4. No Movie Time: Save the movies for later; watching videos while driving is a no-go.

Kansas Hands-Free Law 

The laws of Kansas on the matter are just as comprehensive. However, they do allow hands-free cell phone use, like voice operations or talk-to-text. Here is a look at what is a strict no-no under Kansas hands-free laws.

  • No Texting on the Go: Writing, sending, or reading texts on any wireless device while driving is not acceptable. 
  • Talk Away, but Not with Your Hands: Licensed drivers can chat on a handheld phone but keep those fingers off the keypad for texting.
  • Learner’s Permit Holders, Listen Up!: If you’re rocking a learner’s permit or intermediate license, steer clear of handheld or hands-free phones while driving.

Penalties for violating the hands-free laws in Kansas and Missouri

In Kansas-

  • As a licensed driver flouting the hands-free laws, you will be fined $60 but you will need to show up in court. This means that you will also have to incur court costs that can take your losses to well over $120.
  • As a learner’s or intermediate license holder, you end up paying more. So, you will have to cough up $250 for the first offense and $500 for a second violation. Additionally, your license will be suspended for 30 days for the first violation, and this will be doubled to 60 days for a second violation.

In Missouri-

Although penalties under the Siddens Bening Hands-Free Law will start in 2025, they will be substantial.

  • A first-time offense will leave you with a penalty of $100-$120.
  • A second violation within a 2-year period will cost substantially more at $500.
  • Even a first-time offense in a school or construction zone will lead to a penalty of $500.

Exceptions to the hands-free law

Of course, the laws make some common-sense exceptions such as:

  • Emergency situations get a pass, so if you need to communicate in a pinch, go for it.
  • Emergency first responders and roadside workers have some leeway too.
  • For-hire drivers get reasonable exceptions too.

The Truth of the Matter

Nearly a quarter of all fatal collisions in Kansas in 2021 were attributed to distracted driving while half of all distracted driving collisions in Missouri claimed the life of a person. 

If you have been seriously injured in a crash that involved a distracted motorist, you can seek compensation for your medical expenses and losses. Contact DeVaughn James Injury Lawyers today and let our team of experienced lawyers explain your options to you.