Bill Would Make Penalties Stricter for Texting and Driving in AR

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - A new texting and driving bill, SB 374, is making its way through the legislature.  The bill's sponsor, Senator Will Bond, say its designed to update the current texting and driving laws, making penalties stricter. 

Texting and driving has been illegal in Arkansas since 2009. 

His new bill increases the fine for a first time infraction up to $250, a second offense could be up to $500 and if a wreck is involved those fines could double.   Drivers would be penalized if caught texting or using social media behind the wheel. 

"If you're texting and driving you take your eyes off the road for approximately 4-5 seconds which, if you're going at highway speeds is an incredible distance when you're not looking at the road," says Bond.

Bond filed two other bills also dealing with the same issue.  One involved license suspensions as a penalty for texting and driving that resulted in a wreck, which was controversial.  Another, hands free bill, didn't gain any ground. 

Bond says this bill is modeled after a Louisiana law and he believes it makes more progress in the fight against distracted driving. 

"You know there's no message that really can't wait," says Bond.

Using GPS is an exception in the bill.  Bond says he hopes to get the bill on the Senate Floor Monday. 

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