Our Opinion: Ban texting while driving for everyone

We urge lawmakers to approve life-saving legislation to expand the ban on texting while driving.

Drivers younger than age 21 now are prohibited by state law from the distracting and deadly practice of texting while driving. We encourage legislators, who convened Wednesday, to extend the ban to all motorists.

State Sen. Ryan McKenna, D-Crystal City, has prefiled legislation, which has the support of Gov. Jay Nixon.

It merits bipartisan, unanimous support.

To that end, we encourage lawmakers and our readers to watch an 11-minute documentary recommended to us by Jefferson City Police Capt. Doug Shoemaker.

The documentary, “The Last Text,” is being distributed to schools, local governments and safety organizations.

It features testimony from a Missouri Highway Patrol trooper who responded to a fatal accident involving a student who was texting while driving, as well as the teen’s mother.

But equally, perhaps more, powerful are the brief stories told by young people whose lives were changed as a result of accidents involving texting while driving.

One is a young man who killed a bicyclist; another is a surviving sister; yet another is a victim who suffered severe head injuries.

Their stories are poignant and heart-wrenching, particularly because the accidents that altered their lives were preventable.

Distracted driving is neither a political nor partisan issue.

Texting while driving maims and kills Missourians. And it does so indiscriminately, certainly regardless of age.

Ban this risky, senseless practice — for everyone.

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