Lamar police chief looks at updating traffic ordinances

Changes could include texting and driving ban
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Residents in Lamar, Missouri could be seeing a number of changes to traffic laws in the near future.

One of them — a full ban on texting and driving for all ages.

Rusty Rives, Lamar Police Chief:”When it comes to traffic safety, we’re specifically looking at things to keep our residents safe.”

Right now.. Missouri state law says it’s illegal for anyone *21* and younger to text-and-drive, but it doesn’t apply to people above 21.

If a new ordinance passes in Lamar texting and driving would be banned, no matter the age.

Rives:”One of your highest probabilities of crashing is because of someone following too close. so what we really try to do is remove some of those inattentions so that we don’t have those traffic crashes. we’ve recognized that texting is one of those.”

But, residents in Lamar expressed mixed feelings.

Dylan Mayberry, Lamar Resident:”I catch myself doing that quite a bit, but I think there should absolutely be repercussions to doing it.”

George Baker, Lamar Resident:”I would be suspect to something like that. In a sensitive high traffic.. not a high traffic, but a sensitive traffic area, it would make a lot more sense than a rural area.”

Adding a fine for anyone who parks in a fire lane, and requiring anyone who drives a motor scooter to use headlights at all times, are some other changes Rives is recommending.

Zach Dodge, Reporting:”Would you know why some of those simpler ones like the no parking in fire lanes aren’t in place already?”

Rrives:”I don’t know. It’s just something they haven’t addressed.”

Lamar Mayor Kent Harris says those ordinances aren’t in place because of high turnover.

Harris:”Wwe had a long time chief of police and then upon his retirement, we had chief Bergman at that point for a year and a half or so. Upon his retirement, we were fortunate to get chief Rives, and so he’s picked the ball up and continued to run quickly with that, seeing things that continually need to be updated.”

Changes that Rives hopes.. once finally implemented.. will make a difference in the whole community.

Rives:”We’re just trying to do a lot of things to try and clean up our neighborhoods and really help our residents.”

The changes will be presented to the Lamar city council for approval sometime in February.