A large portion of personal injury claims arise out of traffic accidents in which the negligent party violated a driving law in Missouri. In many cases, a police officer will issue a traffic ticket to the party that they believe to have caused the accident which can play a part in proving negligence under Missouri’s negligence per se claim.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in the State of Missouri, you may have questions about how Missouri’s driving laws can affect your property damage and personal injury claim. Learn more below:
Missouri Driving Laws
There are many different laws governing driving in the state of Missouri, but the most common laws that come into play in personal injury cases are outlined below:
- Obedience to traffic control devices – Drivers must obey all traffic control devices, unless directed by a traffic or police officer.
- Driving on right side of the road – Drivers must drive in the right lane of roadways except when passing another driver going the same direction, when there is an obstruction in the right lane, or when there is a roadway restricted to one way traffic.
- Passing on the left – A driver going the same direction as another driver can pass to the left at a safe distance and must remain in the passing lane until it’s safe to return to the right lane. Some limitations apply according to MO Stat. § 304.016.1.
- Passing on the right – Drivers are allowed to pass on the right under certain conditions outlined in MO Stat. § 304.016.1.
- Following too closely – Drivers must not follow other drivers closer than what is considered “reasonable and prudent.”
- Drivers and mobile electronic devices – Drivers who are 21 years old or younger are not allowed to text and drive. The same rule applies to drivers of commercial motor vehicles.
- Right of way at intersections – When two drivers approach an intersection at approximately the same time, the driver on the left must yield to the driver on the right.
- Right of way when turning left at an intersection – A driver who intends to turn left at an intersection must yield the right of way to drivers approaching from the opposite direction.
- Right of way when entering or crossing a roadway – A driver about to cross or enter a roadway from any place other than another roadway must yield the right of way to all other drivers.
- Careless and reckless driving – A driver who drives in willful disregard for the safety of others is guilty of reckless driving and can be fined or imprisoned. This includes following too closely, improper or erratic traffic lane changes, any violation of the rules for passing on the right/left, exceeding the maximum speed limit, or any violation of federal or state law while driving a commercial vehicle.
- Remaining at the scene of a motor vehicle accident – Drivers involved in an accident must immediately stop and remain at the scene until the driver has fulfilled the requirements of MO Stat. § 302.0600. Leaving the site before exchanging information is a class A misdemeanor but becomes a class D felony if the accident resulted in injury or property damage in excess of one thousand ($1000) dollars. It can also be a class D felony if the driver has previously been found guilty of this same offense.
- Driver’s duty to exchange information – A driver involved in an accident must give their name, address, driver’s license number, and the registration number of their car to the other person involved in the accident or to a police officer.
- Driver’s duty to give aid – Moreover the driver must render to any person injured in the accident reasonable assistance, including making arrangements to transfer the injured person to a medical facility for treatment if it is required.
- Driver’s duty to notify the police – A driver involved in a motor vehicle accident that caused injury, death, or damage must immediately give notice to the nearest police station.
- Open alcohol container while driving – Drivers are not permitted to consume alcohol while driving, but there is no specific legislation about passengers possessing an open alcohol container.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance – A driver must not drive after drinking an alcoholic beverage or consuming an intoxicant in an amount which renders the driver incapable of driving safely. In Missouri, a driver is guilty of a DWI if the driver has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. For a driver of a commercial motor vehicle, the BAC cannot be .04 or higher. A person under the age of 21 who attempts to purchase, possess, or consume alcohol, or has a detectable blood alcohol content is guilty of a misdemeanor.
- Installation of an ignition interlock device – A driver who is found guilty of driving while under the influence of an intoxicant must install an ignition interlock device that measures any amount of alcohol contained in a driver’s body before starting the car.
- Motorcycling laws – All motorcyclists must wear helmets while riding on roadways and every motorcycle must be equipped with at least one and no more than two approved headlights.
- Pedestrian laws – The driver of a vehicle must stop and yield the right of way to a pedestrian in a designated crosswalk. Additionally, all drivers must exercise “Due Care” to avoid colliding with any pedestrian upon any roadway.