When it comes to safe driving, Jim Morrison sang it best: “Keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel.”
In Arkansas, this isn’t simply good advice; it’s the law. Thanks to two statutes known as “Paul’s Law” and the “Fewer Distractions mean Safer Driving Act,” lawmakers have spelled out exactly how and when drivers can use their smartphones.
If you’ve never heard of these laws, it can be a confusing topic. Do the same rules apply to texting and talking? What about using a navigation app? Can you use a map while driving? Let’s clear up any misconceptions with a closer look at Arkansas driving laws.
Texting while Driving in Arkansas
As of July 2017, it is illegal in the state of Arkansas to text or use social media sites while driving. Paul’s Law is named for a Jonesboro father who was killed in a head-on crash. The other driver was reportedly typing a text.
How strict is Paul’s Law? It bans texting or engaging in social media in any form, whether that’s writing, sending, reading, or posting. You may, however, type in a phone number or person’s name in order to make a voice call.
Using a Maps App
For the average citizen, there are two exceptions to the above ban on texting: 1) Reporting an emergency or an illegal activity; and 2) Using a GPS system, like Google Maps or Apple Maps. This means you may still use your phone’s map apps when you need help finding that new restaurant.
Per Paul’s Law, drivers will be fined $250 for their first text/social media offense and $500 for each instance after the first. Of course, anyone who causes injury or death while texting and driving may face additional charges.
Voice Calls while Driving in Arkansas
Can you talk on the phone while driving? In Arkansas, the answer depends on your age and location. The “Fewer Distractions Mean Safer Driving Act” outlines these restrictions.
If you are under the age of 18, you cannot use a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle. Period. Voice calls and texts are both prohibited.
If you are between the ages of 18-21, you may use your cell phone only if you use a hands-free device to do so. Wireless headphones or a Bluetooth speaker are allowed, but you cannot use a handheld device while driving. Texting is always prohibited.
Drivers who are 21 or older can legally talk on the phone while driving in Arkansas. Again, texting is always prohibited.
School Zones and Highway Work Zones
There are two exceptions to the statutes listed in the section above. Arkansas law prohibits ALL wireless phone usage in the following two zones:
- School zones when children are present (i.e. during morning drop-off, afternoon pick-up, and any other time when children are outside the school).
- Highway work zones when workers are present.
No matter your age, it’s always best to give the road your full attention. Cell phones account for nearly 15% of all distracted driving fatalities in the US each year. Don’t become a part of that statistic.
On Your Side, By Your Side
If you’ve been in a wreck because another driver was texting and driving, you may need a personal injury attorney. You may have legal rights to compensation for your injuries, and Taylor King Law can help. We’ll act quickly to get the distracted driver’s phone records and ensure you’re taken care of.
To begin your FREE case evaluation, call 1-800-CAR WRECK (1-800-227-9732) or submit a case form at www.taylorkinglaw.com. Our statewide team will be On Your Side, By Your Side.