Are Texting While Driving Laws Working in Arkansas?
Since 2009, the U.S. Department of Transportation has been leading the effort to stop texting and cell phone use while driving. According to statistics from distraction.gov, 3,179 people were killed and 431,000 were injured in distracted driving crashes in 2014. Text messaging requires visual, manual and cognitive attention from the driver, making it the most alarming and dangerous form of distracted driving.
Since many texting-while-driving laws are relatively new, there is limited evidence to show if the laws are working, but one study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health examined the effects of texting bans in 48 states from 2000-2010.
The study found that states with primary enforcement laws, like Arkansas, which means law enforcement can pull a vehicle over for the suspicion that they are texting while driving, saw a 3 percent reduction in traffic fatalities.
In states with texting bans that affected young people only, there was an 11 percent reduction in deaths for that age group.
Arkansas Distracted Driving Laws
Distracted driving laws vary from state-to-state. In Arkansas, the following laws apply:
- Handheld ban for drivers age 18-20 years old (Primary law)
- Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for bus drivers (Primary law)
- Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice (under 18) drivers (Secondary law)
- Ban on texting for drivers of all ages (Primary law)
A primary law is one in which state troopers can pull over a driver if they see that they are distracted. A secondary law is one in which the driver must be stopped for a primary offense like speeding and not just using a cell phone.
If you live in Arkansas and have been injured in a distracted-driver accident, contact a Little Rock car accident lawyer for a free consultation.