Arkansas Editorials: Texting while driving fines
August 7-13, 2017
Texting while driving fines
By The Associated Press
Several new laws took effect Aug. 1 in Arkansas including a rise in maximum highway speed limits to 75 mph, allowing those with concealed carry permits to keep guns in their vehicles at work and prohibiting open alcohol containers in motor vehicles anywhere within the driver’s reach.
But the one that will likely have the most immediate effect — hopefully a chilling effect — on the most people is a fine on anyone caught texting behind the wheel.
Texting while driving is already against the law. But now the first offense won’t just carry a warning, it will also come with a fine up to $250. Each subsequent violation can cost a driver up to $500.
And if there is an accident and the driver is texting, even on the first offense, the fine doubles to $500. The new law also includes using Facebook, Twitter or other social media within the ban on texting.
In our view it’s about time.
Distracted driving is dangerous, sometimes even fatal. The original ban on texting is known as “Paul’s Law” after a Jonesboro man named Paul Davidson, a father of three who died in a head-on collision with a driver who told police he was texting at the time.
The U.S. Department of Transportation says those who text while driving are 23 times more likely to have an accident. The National Safety Council says texting causes 1 out of every 4 accidents. That adds up to more than 330,000 injuries each year.
Maybe the monetary costs of getting caught texting behind the wheel will finally make some drivers pay attention to the very real costs in pain and suffering. We hope so.
Source: Texarkana Gazette. July 31, 2017.