If you’re a fan of fewer restrictions on what you can do in your car, you’re in the right state. Missouri has fairly lax driving and texting laws compared to others in the union. If you want more freedom, you’ll probably have to go to Montana. If you or a loved one is ever injured in an accident resulting from distracted driving behavior, contact an experienced Kansas City accident lawyer ASAP. If you think the driving laws are too lax, try California or Washington. To get a better idea of Missouri laws in comparison with other states, here’s a rundown.

Missouri Driving and Texting Laws

While driving in the state of Missouri, you must:

  • Wear a seatbelt if you’re a driver or a passenger in the front seat or under the age of 15.
  • Use headlights starting 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise and in inclement weather.
  • Not text while driving if you’re under the age of 21.

Other State Driving Laws

As an overview, 13 states ban handheld cellphone use for all drivers. Twenty states ban any cellphone use for bus drivers, and 37 states ban any cellphone use for teen drivers. Forty-four states prohibit texting for all drivers.

In our immediate neighboring states:


Illinois bans texting and handheld phone use for all drivers and any cellphone use for teens and school bus drivers. All drivers and passengers must wear seatbelts. Drivers must use headlights from sunset to sunrise, in inclement weather, and if they can’t see objects within 1,000 feet of the vehicle.


The state bans cell phone use and texting for all drivers. Anyone in the front seat of a vehicle must wear a seatbelt, and drivers should use headlights anytime they have visibility issues, including nighttime and in inclement weather.


Anyone with a learner’s permit or intermediate license is banned from using a cellphone. The state prohibits all drivers from texting. Anyone in the front seats of a vehicle must wear a seatbelt, and drivers should turn on headlights at sunset.


Like Nebraska, Kansas bans cellphones for learner’s permit-holders and intermediate license-holders, and the state bans all drivers from texting. Front seat drivers and passengers must wear a seatbelt. Drivers should turn headlights on at sunset.


Oklahoma bans learner’s permit and intermediate license-holders from using hand-held cellphones or texting while driving. All front seat passengers and the driver must wear a seatbelt. Drivers should use headlights 30 minutes after sunset.


The state bans all cellphone use for drivers under 18; it also bans hand-held use for drivers between ages 18 and 20 driving through construction zones and in school zones. Texting is banned for all drivers. Drivers and front seat passengers should wear seatbelts. You have to use your headlights anytime you turn on your windshield wipers and turn them on within 30 minutes after sunset and in low visibility areas.


In Tennessee, cellphones and other forms of mobile communication are banned for learner’s permit-holders and intermediate license-holders. Texting, including typing or reading a message, is illegal for all drivers. All riders in the front seat must wear seat belts. Drivers should switch on headlights 30 minutes after sunset and in other situations where they can’t see 200 feet or more ahead. Drivers should also use headlights if they turn their windshield wipers on.


Kentucky bans drivers under 18 from using a cellphone. All drivers are banned from texting. Everyone in a moving vehicle must wear a seatbelt, unless an exemption applies. Headlights should be used at least 30 minutes after sunset and in low visibility conditions.

As you can see, some laws are very similar from state to state, and some vary significantly. Whenever you’re traveling in the state or across state lines, read up on local laws to avoid a ticket. 

Have You or a Loved One Been Injured in a Kansas City, Missouri Car Accident?

If you've been hurt in a Kansas City area car accident you should speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Please feel free to contact us online or call our office directly at 816.832.4688 to schedule your free consultation. We are proud to serve Kansas City, Missouri and the surrounding area and look forward to speaking with you.

Spencer Eisenmenger
Helping Kansas City area medical malpractice, product liability, birth injury and personal injury clients.