The news site of Marquette High School

Marquette Messenger

The news site of Marquette High School

Marquette Messenger

The news site of Marquette High School

Marquette Messenger

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Braden Hiley, freshman, recently selected the classes he wants to take for the rest of his time at MHS through the new Academic Plan on Infinite...

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Elliott Jorgensen, Associate Producer • April 10, 2024

Duo Dogs Touch Therapy visited the third annual MHS Special Olympics. The dogs interacted with athletes, buddies and volunteers.

Mustangs Mourn the Loss of Student Soren Roeseler
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New MO Law Prohibits Distracted Driving

Media by Elliott Jorgensen
The Siddens Bening Hands Free Law will go into full effect in 2025. Under this law, drivers cannot type, write, send or read any text-based communications or watch, record, post, send or broadcast videos while driving.

Addison Thurston, senior, almost never looks at his phone when he’s behind the wheel, but Thurston can’t say the same for other drivers he’s encountered on the road.

“Some drivers will try to merge into my lane because they’re distracted by their phone,” Thurston said. “I’ll need to either swerve to get out of the way or honk to make them aware.”

In hopes of addressing this dangerous issue, a new Missouri Law bans all drivers from holding a cell phone while driving. Previously, this only applied to drivers under 21. 

The “Siddens Bening Hands Free Law,” named in memory of two Missourians who lost their lives in traffic crashes, took effect Monday, Aug. 28.

It’s like any other law out there: the driver has to choose whether or not they will comply with it.

— Adrian Washington

Adrian Washington, public information officer, said the St. Louis County Police Department, like other Missouri police departments, will not heavily enforce this law yet. 

“It doesn’t go into full effect until 2025,” Washington said.

Once the law is strictly enforced, it will be prohibited for drivers to hold/support a cell phone or other wireless device; manually type, write, send, or read any text-based communication; or watch, record, post, send, or broadcast a video. The law does not apply to Bluetooth or voice-activated features.

Officer Washington said this law will only create positive change for the “better percent” of drivers.

“When you’re driving, how well do you see people obeying traffic laws?” Washington said. “Do you see everyone obeying stop signs, or do you see some people obeying stop signs? It’s like any other law out there: the driver has to choose whether or not they will comply with it.”

Edward Ter-hovhannisyan, junior, said he sometimes needs to utilize his phone while driving.

“There are times when I have to get back home quickly, so I pull out my phone for Google Maps in case there’s an exit coming up that I need to take,” Ter-hovhannisyan said. “If I were to stop in the middle of the highway and pull onto the shoulder, that would be very dangerous and a real time-waster.”

If it’s a law in Missouri, then you have to abide by it here. We want everybody on our campus to be safe.

— Melissa Davis

Ter-hovhannisyan said he often listens to music while driving and uses his phone to change songs.

Outside of these situations, Ter-hovhannisyan doesn’t often use his phone while driving and recommends that drivers avoid texting and using social media.

In the MHS parking lot, Junior Principal Melissa Davis said it’s a priority to ensure everyone is following the rules and no one is distracted or on their phone.

“Our parking lot is very busy; all of our parking spots are filled,” Davis said. “We have juniors and seniors who are parking, we have parents who come to pick up and we have students walking across the crosswalks, so paying attention is very important.

Davis hopes people will abide by the Hands Free Law, as phone use is extremely distracting and dangerous when combined with driving.

“If it’s a law in Missouri, then you have to abide by it here,” Davis said. “We want everybody on our campus to be safe.”

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About the Contributors
David Moss, Co-News Editor
David Moss, junior, is one of the news editors for the Marquette Messenger. This is his first full year on staff. David participates in cross country and track in the fall and spring. He also plays piano at his church and in the JazzU program.
Elliott Jorgensen, Associate Producer/Production Editor
Elliott Jorgensen, Senior, is the Associate Producer for MHSNews and Production Editor for The Messenger. He enjoys going to theme parks, going on bike rides, and creating video content. He is the publicity lead for the MHS Theatre Company and participates in the politics club.
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