Law enforcement agencies to crack down on texting while driving

LITTLE ROCK — Law enforcement agencies across Arkansas will join in a national six-day effort to crack down on texting while driving.

“U Drive. U text. U Pay.” is the name of the initiative set to begin Thursday and run through Tuesday, the Arkansas State Police said. Law enforcement agencies will have extra patrols watching for violators.

A national media campaign funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation will publicize the effort, state police said.

Arkansas law prohibits texting while driving, regardless of the driver’s age. It is also a “primary offense law,” which means an officer can initiate a traffic stop without observing any other violation. Fines can be as high as $100.

State law also prohibits drivers from using hand-held cell phones while traveling through school or highway work zones and prohibits any driver under the age of 18 from using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle. Drivers age 18-20 who use a cell phone are required to use a hands-free device. Fines can be as high as $50 and can be doubled if the violation occurs in a highway work zone when workers are present.