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  • Lon Tegels, Northeast Arkansas News

Texting is Epidemic in Arkansas

According to the Arkansas State Police texting and driving is becoming epidemic. The Arkansas State Police are asking drivers to put their phones down while driving.

It’s the video you haven’t yet seen. State police today released a piece of never seen dash cam video. It shows a trooper in Baxter county Arkansas heading down the highway and a woman comes from the other way and is texting.

Before you know it Trooper Jackie Stillets and reversed course and had a few choice words for the driver.

“You nearly kill the both of us, what were you thinking"

In this case neither party was hurt.

But in 2009 Paul Davidson of Jonesboro, a father of three was killed in a head-on crash with a driver who was allegedly type a text message.

Trooper Stillets told the driver he has no place to go except to hit the guard rail.

As a result, the legislature implemented Paul’s law. In October 2017 they increased fines for texting and driving. The fine is 250 dollars for the first offense and it doubles with each subsequent violation.

According to local Trooper Dustin Morgan, “It takes four seconds to read a text,,, in that amount of time you could have traveled the length of a football field.”

State police say texting and driving is out of control. One officer told Northeast Arkansas news it was epidemic.

Morgan says unlike many other states, if a driver is 21 or over, you can talk legally on your cell phone. You can enter numbers into your phone but reading and writing text is still illegal. If your under 18 you can’t even talk on your phone while driving, except to report an emergency condition.

Morgan acknowledges that just about everyone out there has been impacted by todays smart phones…Trooper Morgan says, “as technology has changed we've had to change our techniques.”

Enforcing the cell phone laws isn't all that easy. The minute a driver sees a trooper they hide their phones. However, Morgan says with the number of unmarked vehicles they have in fleet that's becoming increasingly more difficult.


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