Arkansas’s Cellphone-Use & Texting-While-Driving Laws

Read about Arkansas’s distracted driving laws and the costs of a texting or cellphone ticket.

Arkansas’s distracted driving laws prohibit all motorists from text messaging while driving. The restrictions on using a cellphone while driving depend on the age of the driver and where the motorist is driving. This article goes through the specifics of what the laws prohibit and the costs and other consequences of a texting or cellphone ticket.

Talking on the Phone

Drivers 21 years and older. For most drivers, talking on a phone while driving is lawful except when driving through a school zone or highway work zone while workers are present. In these restricted zones, talking on a phone is permitted only with hands-free technology.

Drivers under 18 years old. Arkansas drivers who are under 18 years old are entirely prohibited from using a cellphone while driving regardless of whether the phone is in hands-free mode. The only exception is for emergency purposes.

Drivers 18 to 21 years old. Motorists who are at least 18 but not yet 21 years old can’t use a handheld phone while driving but are allowed to talk on the phone using hands-free technology. These drivers are permitted to use a handheld phone only during an emergency.

Fines

Cellphone violations carry fines of $25 to $250 for a first offense and $50 to $500 for a second or subsequent offense. Fines are doubled for violations that involve collisions. However, a cellphone violation won’t add demerit points to the motorist’s driving record.

Text Messaging and Use of a Wireless Communication Device

In Arkansas, all motorists are prohibited from using a wireless communication device (such as a cellphone, tablet or similar device) while operating a vehicle to:

  • engage in texting, or
  • access, read, or post to a social media networking site.

“Texting” means reading from or manually entering data into a wireless communications device, including doing so for the purpose of SMS texting, emailing, instant messaging, or engaging in any other form of electronic data retrieval or electronic data communication. However, using a GPS system, music player, or any device in hands-free mode generally doesn’t count as texting.

Exceptions

Arkansas’ texting band doesn’t apply to:

  • emergency services personnel communicating within the scope of their duties
  • reporting illegal activity
  • summoning medical or other emergency assistance, or
  • communications made to prevent injury to a person or property

Fines

Texting violations carry the same maximum fines as cellphone tickets: $25 to $250 for a first offense and $50 to $500 for a second or subsequent offense. And fines are doubled for violations that involve collisions. Texting violations don’t add points to the motorist’s driving record.

Other Possible Charges

Depending on the situation, a texting or cellphone violation could also lead to a reckless driving conviction. And if one of these violations results in the death of another person, negligent homicide charges are a possibility.

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