As responsible drivers, we understand the necessity of obeying all the established traffic laws. Unfortunately, there are drivers out there that choose to ignore these laws. When individuals make those choices, they’re putting their lives, as well as the lives of others on the road, in danger. If you’ve been injured in a car accident as a result of another driver’s negligence, our Little Rock car accident lawyers are prepared to help you with your case.
According to the 2014 Arkansas Crash Summary, there were a total of 60,947 vehicle accidents reported – a 4.3 percent increase from 2013. Of those accidents 436 of them were fatal, resulting in the wrongful loss of 470 lives. Nearly half of those lost lives resulted from drivers who were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
As you can see, car accidents are a common occurrence on Arkansas’ roads. Many of these accidents result from broken traffic laws. Let’s take a look at which of these laws are broken most often.
Arkansas has two types of speeding laws, according to AR Code 27-51-201: basic and absolute. Basic speeding laws prohibit drivers from driving faster than is reasonable for the conditions. In other words, a driver must always drive at a safe speed. For example, if it is safe to drive 50 miles per hour on a sunny day, it would not be safe to go that speed at night when it’s snowing. The absolute speed limit law requires drivers to abide by what is posted in specific areas:
- 25 miles per hour in school zones
- 35 miles per hour in urban districts
- 55 miles per hour for large trucks on other roadways
- 65 miles per hour for car and truck on other roadways
If a driver is found driving faster than what is legal, they will be issued a ticket by law enforcement. The first violation carries up to a $100 fine or up to 10 days in jail. A second violation carries up to a $200 fine or 20 days in jail. A third violation will result in a $500 fine or a maximum of six months in jail. If at any time a convicted driver is found to be driving faster than 15 miles per hour over the limit, they are looking at a $500 fine and up to 30 days in jail.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 90 fatalities related to speeding in 2015, which accounted for 17 percent of all traffic fatalities in the state. The majority of these fatalities occurred on non-interstate local roads.
- Reckless Driving
Arkansas Code 27-50-308(a) defines reckless driving as driving in a manner that disregards the safety of other people or property. Common examples of reckless driving in Arkansas include:
- Distracted driving
- Failing to watch for other traffic
- Improperly controlling the vehicle
- Unsafe lane changes
- Driving on private property in order to avoid stop lights, intersections, or stop signs
- Spinning or skidding tires
Driving recklessly can lead to similar penalties as speeding; however, the fines and jail time significantly increase in the event someone is injured or dies.
- Drinking and Driving
The blood alcohol content (BAC) limits for driving are the same in Arkansas as they are across the country. An individual over the age of 21 can be charged with driving under the influence if their BAC is 0.08 percent or higher. If a driver is under 21, their BAC cannot be above 0.02 percent. Some commercial drivers are subjected to a 0.04 percent limit.
If a person is convicted of driving under the influence, their license will be suspended for six months. A second offense within five years gives a suspension of two years. A third violation involves a 30-month suspension. If a person is convicted four times in five years, they will have their license permanently revoked.
Even with those penalties in place and the idea of putting other drivers’ lives at risk, there are still individuals who choose to drive drunk. In 2014, the number of drunk driving fatalities increased by 1.5 percent from the previous year.
- Seat Belt and Child Restraint Violations
Nationwide, nearly half of all traffic fatalities in 2016 involved a driver or passenger who was not properly restrained. In Arkansas, state law requires all front seat passengers to wear a seatbelt. Anyone under the age of 15 should also be properly restrained. Children who are under the age of six and weigh less than 60 pounds should be buckled in the proper safety seat.
- Driving With a Suspended License or Without a License
It’s no surprise that driving with a suspended license, or driving without any license at all, is illegal. This does not stop some Arkansas residents from doing so, however. To be considered driving without a license, you have to either have a license, but not have it in your possession, have an expired license, or have a suspended, canceled, or revoked license. Driving without a license can lead to serious violation charges and fines.
There are never any excuses for breaking the laws listed above. Not only can a traffic violation be expensive, it can change lives. If you find yourself to be the victim of a car accident, know you are not alone. At McMath Woods P.A., we are dedicated to helping individuals who need it the most.
It can be harrowing to deal with insurance companies while focusing on your recovery. Our car accident lawyers in Little Rock can help you seek the compensation you deserve for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more, all while easing the process so you can work on getting better. Contact us today for more information about your legal rights and options.