KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Some Missouri lawmakers want more than just teens accountable for texting behind the wheel, and Ken Selzer agrees.
He says his crash from using his phone while driving should serve as a lesson to others.
Selzer always considered himself careful but admits that business used to continue on the road.
"I would answer the phone or worse yet answer emails," he said.
But that changed last April, when he was driving on 69 highway in Johnson County and got an urgent email from work.
"I looked down and briefly read what I thought was a two or three sentence email and I looked up and was approaching at about fifty miles per hour a construction truck from KDOT," Selzer said.
Moments later, he slammed into the KDOT truck while three construction workers dove out of the way.
He now never uses his phone in the car and always pulls over to park if he needs to use it. "I've learned my lesson," he said.
But it seems American teens have not. Fifty-seven percent admit they still text and drive. That is the same percentage as two years ago.
Some Missouri lawmakers say it isn't just teens and want to expand the state's texting and driving ban to all ages. Currently, officers can't pull over someone older than 21 years old simply for texting while driving.
"It is a difficult law to enforce because looking at someone's age, it is difficult to tell," said Sgt. Collin Stosberg of the Missouri Highway Patrol. Instead, most violations come when it is too late, from crash investigations.
"You see so many people doing it," said Stosberg. "Stopped at a stop light, driving down the highway. It is going to be a huge hurdle for us. We've already seen in 2012 a 33 percent increase in fatalities across the state of Missouri."
Rep. Brandon Ellington (D-Kansas City) agrees texting while driving is dangerous but worries an expanded ban would pin the word of drivers against law enforcement, even increasing racial profiling.
"We don't want to write tickets for it," said Stosberg who adds law enforcement would always rather spread awareness than put more laws on the books. Right now, distracted driving for any reason violates state law.
Selzer is very aware of the consequences of texting while driving.
"In the few seconds it took to read what I thought was an important email, I nearly cost the lives of two construction workers," he said.
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