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Distracted Driving Laws in Arkansas

by on July 14, 2016 » Add the first comment.

Distracted driving leads to many auto accidents that result in death and injury of thousands each year. As technology becomes increasingly ubiquitous, the amount of distractions around us increase. To combat the rate of injury, many states are implementing distracted driving statutes. What are the rules in Arkansas, and what can we do to minimize our chances of being in an accident?

Framing the Problem

According to data from crashes occurring in 2012, there were nearly 3,500 killed and an additional 421,000 injured in the United States because of distracted driving. “Distracted driving” is a broad term that refers to anything that keeps us from focusing on the road—from putting on makeup to texting.

Of these distractions, texting and driving presents the most alarming problem. The Transportation Institute at the University of Michigan reports that a quarter of teenage drivers respond to a text at least once every time they drive, and 1/5 of teens admit to participating in multiple texting conversations behind the wheel. Additionally, 10% of parents confess to participating in extended messaging while driving.

Texting is especially dangerous because it requires our full cognitive and visual attention. While distractions like eating or fiddling with the radio can still be deadly, they don’t require the attention of sending a text.

What Is Arkansas Doing About It?

In response to this problem, Arkansas has implemented new laws that crack down on distracted driving—particularly texting. It’s currently prohibited to text while driving no matter what your age. Those who are found in violation of this law face fines of up to $100 for the first offense.

Teens are subject to stricter rules. Those under age 18 can’t use a phone at all while behind the wheel, even with a hands-free accessory. If you’re between 18 and 20, you may only use a cell phone with a hands-free accessory. Failure to abide by these rules could result in a $50 fine.

The texting ban and cell phone restriction laws are known as “primary enforcement” statutes. This means that a police officer can pull you over for the express reason of violating this statute, even if you aren’t violating any other laws. By contrast, a secondary violation is one in which a police officer can only ticket you if he or she pulls you over for something else, like speeding.

Arkansas is one of 46 states with an anti-texting law and one of 42 with primary enforcement.

How to Limit Distractions on the Road

Texting and driving remains a problem, especially for young people. According to data from Distraction.gov, adults in their 20s make up nearly a quarter of all fatal crashes. They also make up 27% of distracted drivers and 38% of those using cell phones in fatal crashes.

The number of drivers observed texting or visually manipulating their phones has increased in recent years, and research shows that younger people are more likely to use electronic devices while driving than older ones.

Researchers estimate that it takes five seconds to send a text—which, at speeds in excess of 55 miles per hour, is long enough to cover an entire football field.

Distracted driving isn’t worth the risk. To minimize your distractions:

  • Map your route before you leave
  • Set your phone to automatically respond to texts with a note that says you’re driving
  • Complete all grooming before leaving the house
  • If easily tempted, turn off your phone before hitting the road

Have You Been Injured by a Distracted Driver?

An incident with a distracted driver can lead to long-term consequences. If you’ve been injured in an accident and want to discuss your options, contact us to set up a free initial consultation. Our Little Rock injury lawyers at The Law Office of Thomas G. Buchanan have extensive successful experience handling a wide range of auto accident type cases, including distracted driving related accidents. Some of the other common accident cases we handle on a regular basis are: Truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, drunk driving collisions, pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents, and more.

Find more like this: Arkansas Laws, Car Accidents, Texting While Driving Accident

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