The National Transportation Safety Board and the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety are joining forces to fight distracted driving.

A growing and life-threatening problem in Missouri, distracted driving contributed to more than 19,000 crashes last year alone.

In cooperation with StopDistractions.org and the University of Missouri, the NTSB and the Coalition are presenting a Missouri Roundtable on Distracted Driving: Act to End Deadly Distractions on Tuesday, Oct. 29. The roundtable will take place from 9 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. in the Stotler Lounge of Memorial Union on the University of Missouri-Columbia campus.

The roundtable will gather panelists from national organizations, state law enforcement, the Missouri General Assembly and other affiliations to discuss strategies to prevent distracted driving. NTSB Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg will facilitate the roundtable, and the public is encouraged to attend.

Highway crashes are a leading cause of death nationwide, and last year in Missouri, 79 individuals died in crashes involving a distracted driver. But Missouri is one of only two states without an all-driver texting ban, according to the Missouri Department of Transportation. 

“This is an exciting opportunity for organizations, officials and safety advocates to come together to tackle this epidemic,” said panelist and State Highway Safety and Traffic Engineer Nicole Hood. “We encourage anyone who is passionate about ending deadly distractions to come join us at this roundtable and be a part of the conversation.”

The discussion will be streamed live on the web. 

In Missouri, in 2018, 13.7 percent or 21,058 of total reportable motor vehicle crashes involved distracted driving. According to MoDOT in 2018 there were 19,239 total crashes, 564 serious and 7,345 total injuries involving a distracted drivers. 

Currently, 48 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands ban driver use of cell phones for texting.