Law enforcement: Pay attention or pay the price

The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is launching a national high-visibility enforcement effort, April 1-8, 2024, to deter distracted driving. Arkansas law enforcement officers will work together to enforce texting and distracted-driving laws and remind drivers to Pay Attention or Pay the Price: Put the Phone Away or Pay. This effort comes during April, which is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

Drivers consistently among the millennial age group, have become the worst distracted drivers, using their cell phones to talk, text, and scroll through social media. According to NHTSA, in 2021 there were 3,522 people killed and an estimated additional 362,415 people injured in traffic crashes involving distracted drivers.

"Distracted driving is a leading cause of vehicle crashes on our nation's roads, and most of this distraction can be attributed to cell phone use," said Arkansas Public Safety Secretary Colonel Mike Hagar. "People know using their phone while driving is dangerous and often illegal, but they do it anyway, and put themselves and others at risk."

Beginning April 1st, drivers will see increased law enforcement efforts, as Troopers and local law enforcement officers across Arkansas will increase their emphasis on identifying drivers who violate Arkansas's distracted driving laws.

Drive Safe Every Trip

NHTSA and the Arkansas Highway Safety Office urges drivers to put their phones away when behind the wheel. Consider these reminders for a safe drive:

  • If you are expecting a text message or need to send one, pull over and park your car in a safe location.
  • Ask your passenger to be your "designated texter." Allow them access to your phone to respond to calls or messages.
  • Do not engage in social media scrolling or messaging while driving.
  • Cell phone use is habit-forming. Struggling to not text and drive? Activate your phone's "Do Not Disturb" feature, silence notifications, or put your phone in the trunk, glove box, or back seat of your vehicle until you arrive at your destination.

Cell phone use while driving is dangerous and illegal. Break the cycle. Remember: Pay Attention or Pay the Price. For more information, visit https://www.nhtsa.gov/campaign/distracted-driving or call the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8127, and go to https://www.tzdarkansas.org/ to learn about Arkansas' Toward Zero Deaths campaign to eliminate preventable traffic fatalities.

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