AAA Missouri Awards $6,000 to Winners of New High School Traffic Safety Contest

Four Missouri high schools and their communities won top spots and $6,000 in donations from AAA Missouri in the inaugural AAA Buckle Up Phone Down High School Showdown by taking the pledge to drive without cell phone distraction, to speak up for others to do the same, and to always wear a seatbelt. The new traffic contest was developed by AAA Missouri, in partnership with the Missouri Department of Transportation, to educate teen drivers and their parents on the dangers of distracted driving, which has killed 577 people on Missouri roadways since 2015 and causes thousands of crashes each year.



Congratulations to the AAA Buckle Up Phone Down High School 2021 Showdown Winners!

Student Safe Driving Pledge Contest

1st Place – Madison High School - $2,000

2nd Place – Twin Rivers High School - $1,500

3rd Place – Odessa High School - $1,000

Family/Friend/Faculty Safe Driving Pledge Contest

Grand Prize – Cape Central High School - $1,500


Click here to view and download photos of award presentations with winning schools


Click here to view AAA Buckle Up Phone Down High School Showdown Final Standings


How the New Traffic Safety Program Worked

The Showdown, which featured 15 participating schools across the state, provided school faculty members with a safe-driving virtual education program and learning resources for students and a contest to take a safe driving pledge.

The winners were determined by the top three schools with the highest percentage of student pledges as well as a winner for the highest number of pledges from family, friends, and faculty. In total, the Showdown generated more than 4,200 safe driving pledges in communities across Missouri.

“Cell phone distraction while driving is an on-going problem that touches every corner of our state and impacts anyone who uses Missouri roads,” said AAA Missouri Vice President of Public Affairs and Government Relations Angie Nelson. “The overwhelming response to the Showdown shows that both teens and adults recognize the deadly consequences of distracted driving and want to be a part of the solution.”

Buckle Up Phone Down High School Showdown Pledge

Each participant signed a virtual pledge to commit to the following:

  • Yes, I will drive without viewing or sending text or video messages; browsing the internet or social media of any kind.
  • Yes, as a passenger, I will share the responsibility for arriving safely with my driver, speak up when I feel unsafe and offer help so my driver does not drive distracted.
  • Yes, I will buckle up every time I am in a vehicle and ask others to do the same.

The Showdown contest, which ran through December 31st, kicked off on October 22nd in conjunction with MoDOT’s 2021 Buckle Up Phone Down Day campaign.

“Finding new ways to engage drivers of all ages along with young passengers is crucial to reducing the state’s roadway fatalities,” MoDOT State Highway Safety and Traffic Engineer Nicole Hood said. “The Showdown helped reinforce our long-standing safety message that anyone can follow – put your phone down when behind the wheel and always buckle up.”

Missouri’s Texting and Driving Law

Missouri is currently one of just two states without a texting ban for drivers of all ages. Missouri law, in Section 340.820 RSMo., bans sending, reading, or writing a text message or electronic message on hand-held mobile devices while operating a motor vehicle for drivers 21 and younger. The consequences of violating the texting and driving law is a fine of $200 and two points against the young driver’s license.

However, data shows distracted driving isn't just a young driver problem. Approximately 70% of drivers using cell phones in Missouri traffic crashes are 22 years of age or older. Additionally, crash data shows 59% of people killed in distracted driving crashes is someone other than the distracted driver.

The current law does prohibit commercial drivers from using a hand-held communication device, including to send, read, or write a text message or electronic message.

New Bills Introduced to Combat Cellphone Use while Driving

A new survey from the Remington Research Group found that 69% of Missourians support a hands-free law, while only 20% oppose and 11% are not sure. There are currently 10 bipartisan bills introduced in the House and Senate that would strengthen Missouri’s texting and driving law.

“Missouri’s current law sends the wrong message that once you turn 22 years old, it’s safe to text and drive, which we simply know is not case,” Nelson continued. “Strengthening the state’s distracted driving law is the first step in reducing the number of cell phone-related deaths and crashes on Missouri roadways.”


Bill Number

Bill Sponsor




Prohibits the use of a hand-held wireless communication device within school zones and construction or work zones



Creates the offense of distracted driving



Prohibits the use of hand-held electronic wireless communications devices while driving noncommercial and commercial motor vehicles; but allows the use of such devices when used hands-free by operators of noncommercial motor vehicles



Prohibits the use of a hand-held wireless communication device within a school zone



Prohibits the use of hand-held electronic wireless communications devices while driving non-commercial and commercial motor vehicles; but allows the use of such devices when used hands-free by operators of non-commercial motor vehicles who are fully licensed and eighteen years of age or older



Prohibits the use of a hand-held wireless communications device for texting by drivers of any age



Prohibits text messaging while driving for all drivers



Prohibits anyone from using a hand-held electronic wireless communications device while driving a non-commercial motor vehicle unless the device is equipped for hands-free operation and is being used in that manner



Modifies provisions relating to the operation of motor vehicles while using electronic devices



Modifies provisions relating to the operation of motor vehicles while using electronic devices


AAA encourages all motorists to eliminate distracted driving by following these tips:

  • Put it away. Place your mobile device out of sight to prevent temptation.
  • Know where you’re going. If using a navigation system, program the destination before driving.
  • Pull over. If you must call or text while on the road, pull off the road safely and stop first.
  • Ask passengers for help. If riding with someone, seek their help to navigate, make a call or send a message.
  • Be a good passenger. Speak out if the driver of your vehicle is distracted.
  • Don’t be a distraction. Avoid calling or texting others when you know they are driving.
  • Activate Do Not Disturb. Setting up this feature on iPhone or Android device will prevent calls from coming in while you’re driving.
  • Everyone should prevent being ‘intexticated’. Just as drivers need to pay attention, so do pedestrians and bicyclists. Never call, text or play games while walking or cycling.

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About AAA
AAA provides more than 62 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 30 motor clubs and more than 1,000 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit


Districts Involved
Kansas City