Springfield City Council Holds Off on Deciding Careless and Distracted Driving Law

May 22, 2018

Steering Wheel
Credit Boris Kasimov / Flickr

A proposed Careless and Distracted Ordinance for Springfield has been referred to the city’s Plans and Policies Committee for further review.  City Councilman Matthew Simpson made the motion to do so.  He said, while he believes distracted driving is an issue for the city, he believes it’s “not prudent” to move forward with it.  He made that decision, he said, based on discussion by council members, feedback they’ve received and legal guidance.

“I think that we need to review the enforceability of this, particularly as it relates to state statute preemption that currently exists on this issue as well as look at the experience of other cities that have tried this,” he said.

Some council members questioned the need for the measure at the May 7 meeting.  Mayor Ken McClure expressed concern that officers would have “too much subjective discretion on this.”

Springfield already has a Careless and Imprudent Driving law, which is used to charge people in accident cases.  Police Chief Paul Williams said the main purpose of the proposed ordinance would be to prevent accidents caused by distracted driving.