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No Phone Use Allowed While Driving in Arkansas Active School, Work Zones

Expect fines if caught texting or talking on the phone while driving in specified zones

October 02, 2011|Mary Moloney, Jason Crow | Reporter, Photographer

Harrison, AR — Attention Arkansas drivers! It is now against the law to use a cell phone when driving in school and construction zones.

People who live around the Eagle Heights Elementary School in Harrison spent Sunday reacting to the laws that will affect their neighborhood.

"I think it's a good law," said Watson Strong while looking at the crosswalk across the street from his house.

Dewayne Fiveash also lives in the neighborhood with the school zone. The man is a father of five and drives a truck for a living. He knows all about the rules of the road and how drivers can be distracted by a cell phone.

"You're concentrating on talking on the phone or texting. Especially if you are texting. You gotta look down and look at the phone. Like me, I mean, my fingers are big and them letters are small on the phone. I mean, you really got to concentrate when you look at it," explained Fiveash. "I've had to almost slow down cause somebody didn't merge over in the slow lane in front of me and have enough space because they was on the phone."

The two new laws, which went into effect October 1, mandate drivers not use their cell phone while in a school zone during school hours or while driving through an active construction zone when workers are present.

"Right at the point at the construction spot, everybody slows down at about 20 miles per hour and wants to look," said Fiveash. "If you are on your phone and trying to look, well sometimes when you look off, your hands go right where your eyes are looking."

Fiveashe's wife April is also in favor of the laws because she says she knows they will help to protect her kids.

"It needed to be in effect a long time ago," said April Fiveash.

The rules are secondary violations, meaning drivers cannot be stopped just for using their phone in the banned zone. However, if pulled over for speeding or another primary violation, you can now get an extra fine in Arkansas.

"Kids are running around across the streets. One mistake, one distraction can hurt a child or construction worker," said Fiveash.

"People need to slow down and watch out. Children are more important than you would think," his wife agreed. "They are more important than that text. They are more important than your own life really."

The rules outlaw both texting and talking on the phone while driving in school and work zones when people are present. If there is an emergency and 911 needs to be dialed while in the zones, drivers will not be fined.

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