Recently, the City of Brentwood, Missouri in central St. Louis County passed an ordinance that bans distracted driving. A driver can now be pulled over by police for using a mirror for grooming, using a phone, looking in the back seat, or writing while driving. Such actions would theoretically lead to a Careless and Imprudent traffic ticket. The stated purpose of the law is to prevent accidents and make for more focused driving in a very congested area. Brentwood streets are home to a variety of businesses, large and small. Also, Brentwood Blvd. is a main thoroughfare for drivers to get to downtown Clayton and Webster Groves on weekdays. It does not mention texting and driving because a previous ban on texting did not pass.
While the stated purpose of the law has good intentions, it is incredibly too overbroad and can lead to unconstitutional traffic stops. Further, it calls for selective enforcement which can be pretext for discriminatory stops. With language such as “turning your head away from traffic,” this new law would ban checking on your child in the mirror or looking at your gas gauge. If officials claim that those are exceptions, there is no way for an officer to know that is the case before they conduct a traffic stop and pull you over.
If you were pulled over for distracted driving and it lead to a ticket or other infractions, make sure you have an experienced criminal defense attorney to evaluation and scrutinize the laws that lead to your stop. Sometimes, a stop for something small leads to an arrest for drug possession, DWI, or outstanding warrants. At Henderson & Waterkotte, PC, our lawyers work tirelessly to defend clients at every stage of the case. Call today for a free consultation at 314-645-4400. Available 24/7.