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March 28, 2016

Additional Information Contact:
ASP Highway Safety Office – Ann Whitehead
(501) 618-8133  –  ann.whitehead@asp.arkansas.gov


  (LITTLE ROCK) – Arkansas is putting a renewed emphasis on education and enforcement of the state’s distracted driving laws.  Highway Safety authorities are joining national operations intended to stop distracted driving.

  Law enforcement agencies across the state have joined the national “U Drive U Text U Pay” campaign to stop distracted driving.  A statewide awareness campaign will utilize paid advertising with television, radio, online ads and social media to reach out to the motoring public.

  “We all know that using our cell phones while driving is distracting, but that doesn’t stop most people from continuing to do it,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative.  “We want to educate Arkansas drivers about the dangers of texting and cell phone use while operating a motor vehicle.”

  Colonel Bryant continued, “We hope that once people see and hear the messages, they will be more aware and change their driving habits to help protect themselves, their families and others on the road.”

  Arkansas law prohibits the use of a hand held cell phone for texting, typing, email or accessing the internet while driving, regardless of the driver’s age.  It is also a “primary offense” law, which means a state trooper, police officer or sheriff’s deputy can initiate a traffic stop without observing any other violation.

  Drivers should be aware of all state laws related to distracted driving, particularly related to the prohibition of using a hand-held cell phone while traveling through school or highway work zone.   All drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle.  Drivers 18 to 20 years using a cell phone are required to use a hands-free device.

  The national distracted driving effort focuses on ways to change the behavior of drivers through legislation, enforcement, public awareness and education which are the same tools that have been used to curb drunk driving and increased seat belt use.

  For more information on distracted driving issues, visit www.Distraction.gov, www.TrafficSafetyMarketing.gov or contact the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136. For more on Arkansas’ ongoing Toward Zero Deaths campaign to eliminate preventable traffic fatalities, visit www.TZDarkansas.org.