The Baxter County Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with other law enforcement agencies across the state and country, will be participating in NHTSA’s Distracted Driving Enforcement Campaign from April 13th to April 19th.
During this period of time, deputies will be specifically watching for indications that people are driving their vehicles on the public roadways while texting or using other electronic devices to send or receive messages and other data.
Since Act 181 of 2009 was passed in Arkansas, it has been a violation of the law to text or send emails from a cell phone or electronic device while driving a vehicle except in cases of a legitimate emergency. This is a primary offense for which a driver may be pulled over. There is a minimum $100 fine plus court costs for violating this law.
Act 197 of 2009 made it unlawful for drivers 17 years old and under to use a cell phone at all when driving. Drivers aged 18, 19, and 20 are only permitted to speak on a cell phone while driving if they are using a hands-free device.
Statistics indicted that at any given daylight moment, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or electronic devices while driving. Five seconds is the average amount of time a driver’s eyes are off the roadway when sending or reading a text message.
In 2013, 3,154 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents because of distracted driving.
The primary objective of this campaign is deterrence through education and awareness of the dangers of distracted driving, but deputies will be issuing citations to drivers they observe violating these laws.
Baxter County Sheriff’s Office