Does our state do enough to prevent distracted driving? Arkansas does not do enough to prevent distracted driving. There are so many drivers that get injured due to using the cell phone and driving. Preventing distracted driving is a very difficult task, but more should be done to try to prevent it. Just asking drivers to be aware or fining the driver is not enough to convince people what they’re doing is wrong. According to the Arkansas legislating, in 2012 there were over 200 accidents in Arkansas because of distracted driving. Is distracted driving something law enforcement can control, or is it an individuals’ decision? Can we ask our state to do more?
Arkansas could do a lot more to prevent distracted driving, but it would result in an increase in taxes. If Arkansas was to try to increase the amount of officers throughout the state, those officers would need paid. Many may not realize that officers are paid with taxes that we pay. Although, Arkansas does have one of the lowest tax percentages, we also have a very low fatality rate of distracted driving.
There have been many new laws put in place to prevent distracted driving. Every year there are more laws passed. When laws were first being developed, some government officials tried to say that making these types of laws were an invasion of privacy. Other officials disregarded what was said and passed the laws anyways. Currently, the restrictions are all drivers found texting and driving can be fined up to $100. Drivers under 18 are completely prohibited from using cellular devices while driving and can be fined up to $50. School bus drivers are completely prohibited from using the phone while driving. Arkansas legislation is trying to pass a new bill. The new bill would consist of a $50 fine (first offense), a $150 fine (second offense within two years), and a $200 fine and a one-year suspension of license (third offense). This new bill would also completely prohibit teens from distracted driving resulting with consequences of suspension of license.
Although, some may wonder is adding all these laws makes a difference. Making these laws does make a difference. Officials stated that enforcing these laws have decreased fatal accidents caused by distracted driving by about three percent. That may not seem like a lot, but it really is. In 2012, Arkansas had about 200 accidents caused by distracted driving with about 17 fatalities. If Arkansas were to pass the new laws, imagine how many less accidents would occur. I have noticed, being a young driver myself, that it is mainly people ages 16 to 25 that text and drive. If law enforcement were to crack down, a majority of the distracted drivers would have suspended licenses. According to Arkansas police, in 2009 about 787 accidents were caused due to electronic devices.
Lastly, if the law enforcement cannot control distracted driving completely, perhaps the car manufacturers or cell phone companies could make a difference. It has been found (dmv.org) that car manufacturers can make it to where cars will not start if the drivers’ phone is on. The manufacturers could even make it to where cellular devices will not work within the car. Doing this could be the most effective way to prevent distracted driving. Cell phone companies can also regulate the use of cell phones within a vehicle. Cell phone companies can make it to where cell phones will not transmit or receive calls, text, or any other notifications while the vehicle is in motion. This option is already being offered by Sprint and T-Mobile. Although, taking this approach would make many wonder what capabilities they have to do this. Also, another downfall would be calling for help if there has been an accident.
As many government officials are unsure on what approach to take to prevent distracted driving, these are some of the choices they are presented with. Many drivers get injured or killed due to distracted driving, but Arkansas is doing what can be done to prevent it. Arkansas does not have full control over distracted driving, but making new laws has made quite the impact.
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