JEFFERSON CITY - A representative is concerned about the enforcement of legislation banning texting while driving.
Rep. Brandon Ellington, D-Kansas City, said he was concerned about how officers would enforce the texting while driving ban, saying it could be similar to racial profiling.
"If it (the infraction) does go into an officer's word against that of somebody's driving, do you think this opens up police departments, across the state of Missouri, for liability when we talk about...well, I'm just going to say 'driving while black,'" Ellington said.
Other representatives, including Rep. Kathie Conway, R-St. Charles, also asked about a person's right to privacy. Conway questioned if people would be required to surrender their phone to confirm whether or not they had been using their phone while driving.
However, Ron Replogle, superintendent of the Missouri Highway Patrol, said the drivers would be questioned and not required to part with their phones.
Replogle, who testified in favor of the bill, also voiced his concerns about the current legislation. He is worried because the current law only allows police to pull over people who appear to be under 21 and using their phones, or anyone over 21 who's usage of their phone is obviously impairing their driving.
Replogle told one story about when he saw a woman who was watching her phone closely while holding it right above her steering wheel - but he could not pull her over because she was over 21.
"There was no way for me to stop her," Replogle said. "She wasn't violating the law, she wasn't speeding, she wasn't weaving, but to me, she was a danger."
No one testified in opposition, however, many representatives questioned the witnesses about the specifics of the legislation.
The committee did not vote on the bill.