Texting and driving is dangerous. However, many people still read, compose, and send messages while they’re behind the wheel. It’s as if they can’t put down their phones for even just a few minutes. In the United States, approximately nine people are killed and in excess of 1,000 are injured every day in crashes that involve a distracted driver. This is according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Distractions can be visual, manual, cognitive or any combination of the above. Texting is especially dangerous because it incorporates all three forms of distraction. A driver who is texting takes their eyes off the road, their hands off the wheel, and their mind of driving. No matter how good a driver thinks they are, they simply can’t focus on driving while texting.
Despite how commonplace the practice is, individuals in Arkansas who text and drive are breaking the law. Specifically, the state prohibits the use of handheld devices for texting, typing, emailing or assessing the internet while driving. Police officers, state troopers, sheriff’s deputies can stop a driver who is texting without noticing any other violations.
If a distracted driver hits you and causes injuries and/or property damage, you’re entitled to compensation. However, you will need to work with an Arkansas car accident lawyer to prove that the driver was negligent. Let’s take a closer look at what the law says about texting and driving.
Exceptions to The Ban on Texting and Driving
The ban applies to most drivers except:
- Motorists who are seeking medical or other emergency help
- Motorists who are reporting a crime
- Motorists using a GPS system
- Motorists who are communicating to prevent injury to another person or damage to property
- Emergency services workers who are executing their duties
Special Age-Related Regulations for Device Use While Driving in Arkansas
Outside of the exceptions above, all motorists are expected to adhere to the law. However, some restrictions are based on the driver’s age. Drivers who are 21-years-old and older can generally talk on the phone if they have hands-free software. However, they can’t do so while driving through a highway work zone with workers on-site or a school zone. Meanwhile, drivers under the age of 18 aren’t allowed to talk on the phone while driving even if they have a hands-free system. They can only make calls in emergency situations.
Fines for Texting and Driving in Arkansas
Motorists who are convicted of texting and driving for the first time have to pay a $250 fine. The fine for second and subsequent offenses is $500. Also, if a driver’s actions cause an accident, they have to pay $500. Arkansas made texting and driving illegal in 2009 but back then, the driver was ticketed and the fine was $100. The fine was increased in 2017 when updated laws were introduced. The law still doesn’t impose demerit points on drivers’ licenses when they are found guilty of texting and driving.
While the fines are enough to deter some people from texting and driving, others will simply pay and repeat their behavior in the future. A driver may think nothing of driving and texting until they strike someone. Then, they could be charged with reckless driving. If the accident results in death, the driver could face negligent homicide charges. Clearly, texting and driving is by no means a minor offense. Car accident lawyers in Arkansas will always seek to determine if a driver was breaking the law when an accident occurred.
Contact the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield P.A. Today to Schedule a Consultation
If you were involved in an accident that was not your fault, you can recover your losses from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. You don’t need to be certain that the driver was texting and driving. We’ll investigate the case and look for evidence of negligence. Whether the driver was texting, talking on a hand-held device or otherwise breaking the law, we can help.
A driver who doesn’t adhere to the law fails to demonstrate the expected reasonable care. However, their insurance company or lawyer will still try to deny liability. You will need to have a competent attorney on your side to ensure your rights are protected. We’ll ensure you know all the options available to you and you’re treated fairly. Call the Arkansas car accident attorneys at our firm today to get the help you need. Your first consultation is free, and you don’t have to pay until we get compensation on your behalf.