Drivers in Missouri have control over many factors when they get behind the wheel. They can choose to avoid distractions, stay sober, maintain their vehicles and obey traffic laws. Issues like the bad decisions of other drivers or defective auto parts, however, are beyond an individual's control. When crashes happen, the police and insurance adjusters will strive to determine what caused the accident and who bears responsibility.
Ridesharing drivers in Missouri may feel encouraged to work extended hours because of the low fare and salary incentives, but they will want to be careful about exceeding their safety limits. A position statement from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine has brought some needed attention to the risk of sleep deprivation among people in the industry.
Traffic crashes are not just a problem in Missouri. In fact, they are the eighth leading reason for death in the whole world, according to the World Health Organization. They are also globally the leading cause of death among people 5 to 29 years old. The 2018 Global Status Report on Road Safety, released in December by WHO, analyzed the road safety laws of 175 countries and found many of them wanting.
Missouri continues to work toward helping reduce teen fatalities on the state's roadways by ensuring all teen drivers receive enough training with the Graduated Driver License law. When a teen is 15 years of age and can pass the vision, road sign recognition and written tests at a Highway Patrol examination station, they are eligible for an instruction permit. They can drive with licensed drivers who are 25 or older. At 16, a driver may graduate to an intermediate license after having a permit for at least 182 days and passing the written test again if results from the first one are over a year old. They must also pass the Highway Patrol driving test. The last step in the process is to obtain an under-21 full driver's license at age 18 or older.
The number of motor vehicle accidents caused by distracted drivers has risen sharply in recent years, and road safety advocates in Missouri and around the country have blamed this increase largely on the use of smartphones and other internet-connected devices by motorists. Between 2013 and 2017, smartphone ownership in the United States rose from 55 percent to 77 percent while the number of traffic accidents increased by 12.3 percent to 6.4 million.
Missouri drivers may be safer on roadways that have replaced traffic lights with roundabouts. Experts say that while traffic lights are better at reducing the overall number of accidents, the collisions that do happen are more severe. Accidents at roundabouts are less likely to be fatal and more likely to only result in minor injuries.
Missouri drivers can take action after a car accident to help to protect themselves and their ability to pursue compensation after the crash. This is especially important for people who have been injured or had their vehicle damaged after an auto accident caused by another driver's dangerous, distracted or negligent driving. Of course, the most important immediate task after stopping at the accident scene is pursuing emergency medical care; when no urgent treatment is necessary, it is still important to visit the doctor later.
Missouri drivers who engage activities that draw their attention away from their driving are engaging in distracted driving. These activities may include texting or talking on their cellphone, conversing with other people in the vehicle, adjusting the navigation system or stereo, drinking or eating.