When The Other Driver’s Eyes Weren’t On The Road
Distracted driving is more pervasive than most people think: Nearly 80 percent of all motor vehicle crashes in the United States are believed to involve some form of distracted driving.
And even though distracted driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving, the penalties for distracted driving in Arkansas have historically been mild.
In recent years, fines for distracted driving topped out at $100 per citation. Today, first-time offenders face a penalty of no more than $250. On the other hand, a DUI in Arkansas carries penalties up to $10,000.
Distracted driving isn’t an accident, it’s a choice negligent drivers make behind the wheel.
Our Little Rock car accident attorneys recognize the significance of distracted driving accidents, and we’ll work hard to ensure you get the justice you deserve and the compensation you need after an accident.
Why You May Need a Lawyer
During a crash investigation, police officers routinely ask about cell phones or texting while driving, but they rarely ask about other common distractions such as eating, personal grooming, or fussing with small children in the backseat.
An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to wade through the details and determine exactly what went wrong to build an effective case.
This is especially important in Arkansas, where we follow contributory negligence laws. These laws assign fault based on each party’s contribution in a crash.
For example, if you or another driver is texting when an accident occurs, this information could dramatically affect how much fault is assigned to each party, and subsequently how much compensation is available for injuries.
Aggressive Representation for Arkansas Injury Victims
In 2015, nearly half of all fatal crashes in Arkansas involved distracted driving, according to data from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA).
During this time, there were 556 total traffic fatalities in Arkansas, and only six of the distracted driving crashes involved the use of a cell phone.
The impact of a distracted driving crash can be life-changing and far-reaching. These types of crashes can affect victims, victims’ families, and the community at large.
In rare cases, distracted drivers who cause death may also face criminal charges such as negligent homicide or vehicular homicide. A driver can be convicted of negligent homicide only if there’s proof that the negligent driver was a legal cause of the death. Criminal charges carry harsh penalties including jail time and fines.
Compensation for Crash Victims in Arkansas
Victims who suffer a serious accident should focus on recovery, not how to pay the bills.
The car accident lawyers at the Minton Law firm can help Arkansas accident victims pursue compensation for:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages or lost earning potential
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
If a loved one was killed in a distracted driving accident, our attorneys may be able to help your family pursue damages through a wrongful death claim.
Arkansas Distracted Driving Laws
Texting while driving is illegal in Arkansas, period. And there are strict rules about what drivers are allowed to use handheld devices and where.
For example, novice drivers less than 18 years old are prohibited from all cell phone use while driving; drivers 18 to 20 years old cannot use a handheld cell phone for talking or texting (this law now includes posting to social media as well).
Older, experienced drivers may choose to use a handheld device to place a call while driving, but all bus drivers may not use a handheld or hands-free cell phone at any time while behind the wheel.
The rules listed above are called primary enforcement laws in Arkansas, which allow a driver to be cited for these offenses alone and without another traffic violation (for example, speeding or drinking and driving).
Arkansas also has secondary laws, or laws that can’t be cited alone and must support another traffic offense. For example, all drivers are prohibited from using a cell phone in school and construction zones.
Some cell phone laws are primary while others are secondary. The important thing to remember is that cell phone use is risky behavior, and accidents are more likely to occur when drivers engage in such activities.
If you or someone you love was injured in a car accident, let the Minton Law Firm investigate the possibility of distracted driving.