Engaging in any type of distracted driving in Arkansas is prohibited amongst novice motorists, commercial vehicle drivers and school bus operators. For instance, cellphone-related driving distractions may include holding a mobile device, reading or sending text messages or talking on the phone while operating a vehicle. However, these are not the only type of distractions that drivers face or engage in. Not all types of distractions are prohibited in the state. For instance, other types of distractions may include eating, drinking, or operating a vehicle while tired or fatigued. Potential distractions such as these are responsible for the fatalities of thousands of individuals each year.

Additionally, texting and driving is illegal throughout the state, regardless of a driver’s age or experience level. In most cases, however, talking on the phone is permitted, as long as motorists are not commercial drivers, school bus operators or younger than 18 years of age. For additional AR distracted driving facts, review the information below.

What is distracted driving in Arkansas?

While Arkansas distracted driving laws pertain mainly to reading and sending text messages, other types of distractions may include holding an electronic device while operating a vehicle, talking on the phone or engaging in any activity that diverts the driver’s attention away from the road ahead. Other types of driver distractions may include eating or drinking, adjusting the vehicle’s radio or navigation systems or talking to other passengers. While most types of distractions are not prohibited under state law, driver distractedness can be deadly, as any diverting activity may increase a motorist’s chances of running a red light or failing to stop for crossing pedestrians.

For instance, recent facts about distracted driving in AR show that driver distractedness contributed to the deaths of 3,450 individuals during the 2016 year. Around five percent of all traffic-related deaths involved a driving distraction during the 2015 year. Nationally, around 10 percent of all traffic-related deaths involved driver distractedness during the 2013 year.

Distracted Driving Laws in Arkansas for Handheld Devices

The Arkansas distracted driving law bans the use of handheld electronic devices in different types of situations. For instance, the use of all handheld mobile devices is prohibited while driving a vehicle through a highway construction or school zone, regardless of a driver’s age or experience level. To stop distracted driving amongst teenage motorists, novice drivers must use a hands-free device if they are between 18 and 20 years of age and wish to use a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle. However, drivers cannot use a mobile device at any time if they are 18 years of age or younger.

Texting and Driving Laws in Arkansas

To prevent distracted driving accidents in AR, the state prohibits handheld cell phone usage while operating a motor vehicle on public roads. As part of this texting and driving laws, drivers cannot use a handheld mobile device to read, write or send text and email messages or to perform an internet search. These rules pertain to motorists of all ages and experience levels.

Arkansas Laws on Distracted Driving for Novice Drivers

Since texting and driving accidents in AR are most common amongst teenage drivers, motorists who are 18 years of age or younger cannot use a mobile phone at any time while operating a motor vehicle. Additionally, drivers who are between 18 and 20 years of age may only talk on the phone if they use a hands-free component.

Arkansas Distracted Driving Regulations for CDL Holders

Engaging in any type of cell phone use while driving in AR is prohibited amongst commercial vehicle drivers and school bus operators in the state. For instance, commercial drivers cannot email or text while driving and they may not use any type of handheld mobile device while operating a commercial vehicle. Additionally, commercial vehicle operators cannot read emails or instant messages unless they use a hands-free device to do so. However, these laws do not pertain to navigation systems or built-in radios. Moreover, commercial drivers may use a handheld device in an emergency if they need to communicate with a law enforcement official.

Distracted Driving Penalties in Arkansas

If motorists break any of the Arkansas texting while driving laws, the Arkansas State Police (ASP) may leave them with a warning after their first offense. However, any subsequent offenses will result in a fine of up to $100. However, if motorists use a mobile device in a work or school zone, first-time offenses may result in a $50 fine, while the penalty for any subsequent offenses may double to $200.

Furthermore, the consequences for distracted driving offenses are more severe if violators are school bus drivers. For instance, school bus drivers will be subject to paying a fine of between $100 and $250 if they are convicted of driving distractedly. Additionally, commercial drivers who violate this law may lose their privileges to operate a school bus or any other type of commercial vehicle.

Ways to Prevent Distracted Driving in Arkansas

While texting and driving in AR is illegal, not all types of driving-related distractions are. To prevent distractions and reduce the risk of causing an accident it is important for drivers to:

  • Avoid eating or drinking while driving a motor vehicle.
  • Pay attention to the road ahead and limit conversations or interactions with other passengers, including children and pets.
  • Keep both hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road.
  • Put their phones away and out of reach until they stop and park their vehicle in a safe location.
  • Use a smartphone app that blocks incoming phone calls and texts.
  • Turn their phones on silent whenever a vehicle is in motion.

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