Arkansas Texting Ban Ineffective; Only 18 Citations in Three Years

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Texting in Arkansas has been illegal for three years now, but as a new report illustrates, that doesn’t necessarily mean that people have curtailed their texting habit.

The state’s ban on texting went into effect way back on November 1, 2009 with the passage of Act 181.  But according to statistics from the Arkansas Crime Information Center, the number of citations issued for the texting while driving offense is remarkably low.  In fact, only 18 people have received a ticket for texting across the entire state of Arkansas since the law went into effect.

These numbers have some citizens crying foul, as they don’t just show that people have for the most part stopped texting, as some might mistakenly believe when looking at the statistics.  A spokesperson for the North Little Rock Police Department stated that he sees numerous people texting when he’s in a car that isn’t readily identifiable as a cop car.  With cruisers, he says, people will simply hide their phones and pretend that they’re not texting, which suggests that actually proving a violation of the law has occurred is difficult.

The representative who sponsored the ban on texting in the first place said that officers need to realize that it’s not their duty to prove things, just to write a ticket when they see the offense taking place.  He said a judge can decide from there, and that only when officers start to issue citations can the texting issue be truly addressed.