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Weekly Column From Arkansas House Of Representatives 4/21/17

By Staff, 04/23/17 1:53 PM

LITTLE ROCK – With summer months approaching, more drivers are preparing to hit the road. Now is the perfect time to remind Arkansans of new laws hitting the books affecting our roadways.

During 2014 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported more than 3,000 deaths and more than 400,000 injuries caused by distracted driving.

That is why, in the most recent session, we passed Act 706 which clarified Paul’s Law from 2009. Paul’s Law prohibited texting while driving. Act 706 changes the wording to include any use of a wireless device to write, send or read a text-based communication and access, read or post to a social networking site.

A driver is not in violation of he or she reads, selects or enters a telephone number or name in a wireless device for the purpose of making a telephone call. An exemption is also made for drivers to use their navigation system.

Act 706 gives judges the discretion to fine up to $250 for a violation. The previous fine was capped at $100.

Act 615 addresses leaving the scene of an accident when property is damaged. This bill states a driver must take reasonable steps to locate a property owner if his or her vehicle is in an accident causing damage to another’s property. Leaving the scene without making an attempt to contact would be a Class A misdemeanor if the damage is less than $10,000. It would be a Class D felony if damage is more than $10,000.

Act 1097 allows the Highway Commission to increase the speed limit on interstates to 75mph. It raises the speed limit on other highways to 65mph where permissible.

And if you are looking for convenience, remember that Act 157 allows the Office of Driver’s Services to issue a digital copy of an Arkansas driver’s license upon request for a $10 fee. The digital copy of the license would be available for view until the expiration of the traditional license.

For more information on driving laws and safety measures on the road, visit the website for the campaign towards zero deaths on Arkansas roads at www.tzdarkansas.org.

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