While most states already have laws on the book pertaining to the legality of texting and driving, texting and operating an aircraft is not yet an official crime. However, a pilot who was believed to be texting and flying a helicopter at the same time has been determined by authorities to be the cause of a deadly crash in Missouri. This finding may very well open the door to a wrongful death suit.
Currently, Missouri law bans texting and driving for motorists 21 years of age and under. However, attempts to expand that law have continually been met with resistance in the state legislature, even though there are now some 37 states across the country that have completely banned texting while driving. At the local level, five Missouri cities have prohibited their use, though the statewide law continues to apply only to those 21 and under. This controversy rages notwithstanding the fact that a 2010 truck accident on Interstate 44 in Franklin County became the focal point of a nationwide effort to ban cellphone use while operating a motor vehicle.
Unfortunately, a new study has revealed that the number of 16 and 17-year-olds killed in car accidents in Missouri increased during the first half of 2011, and officials say that inattention or distracted driving is a major reason for the accidents.
Recently, the National Transportation Safety Board called upon states to enact laws that would ban the use of cellphones while driving. As an example of the dangers of using a cellphone while driving, federal transportation officials cited a 2010 Missouri car accident in which a teen driver had been sending text messages right before he failed to slow down for construction and crashed into a taxi on a Missouri highway. Two buses full of high school students crashed in the wreck, which injured 38 people and left two dead.