Distracted driving is a leading cause of teen fatalities

Missouri does not look kindly on those who are distracted behind the wheel. Did you know it is so dangerous that the state actually has the MO Eyes on the Road campaign and harshly penalizes those who violate the distracted driving laws?

There are so many benefits to being a safe driver that many people don't understand why drivers would choose to flout this common sense that imperils lives. There are several devices you can purchase, for example, to monitor your speed, braking and driving habits. Parents can buy these tools to monitor their teenager's driving habits, which could help identify dangerous habits before they lead to a crash.

What happens if a teen is involved in a distracted-driving crash?

By law, the teen driver may lose his or her insurance coverage and be cancelled from any policy, their own or one owned by a parent. If they lose their insurance, then that means they can no longer legally drive.

In the event that the policy doesn't get cancelled, the teen and parents may still struggle with a policy that has rates at least 50 percent higher than in the past, making it cost prohibitive for some to continue driving at all. Rates will increase for three to seven years, depending on the offense.

Drivers under the age of 21 are not allowed to text and drive. If you get caught, you can expect to pay $200 and face points on your license. Two points are added for each offense, which adds up quickly. If you get too many points, you'll lose your license.

Nationally, motor-vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death for those between the ages of 15 and 25. Just checking your phone puts you at a three-times higher risk of being involved in a collision. If you're under 21, don't even think of texting and driving, because it's illegal and can lead to fines.

In Missouri, teens make up around 13 percent of all fatalities from inattentiveness. This group of people consistently ranks high for the number of fatalities and accidents in the state, showing just how important it is to stay attentive behind the wheel.

Those who are injured by teenage drivers have a right to compensation, just the same as if they'd been in a crash with an older driver. Making a mistake as a teen can have lasting consequences, so parents need to talk to their children about the risks of distracted driving.

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