Texting, e-scooters and bikes: A look at laws starting today

Biking the Ozarks

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KFTA) — Happening around Arkansas, new laws go into effect Wednesday, July 24, that could change your day-to-day lives.

One of the biggest talkers is Act 738, formerly SB534, which now makes texting illegal for all drivers and complies with federal law for distracted driving requirements.

The new traffic law makes it illegal to text or use cell phone data while driving.

Drivers under 18 can not use a cell phone or a hands-free device.

However, drivers 18 and older can use a hands-free device while driving.

Fines for a first offense range from $25 to $250, and from $50 to $500 for a second offense.

If you are in an accident, the fines will double.

Another state law requires cities in Arkansas to allow electric scooter companies to set up shop on public property.

As a result, the Fayetteville city council passed an ordinance that will allow up to 500 scooters in the city.

They are only allowed to go 15 miles per hour.

The ordinance also clarifies where you can and can not ride them.

Act 650, formerly SB388, states, “to allow bicyclists to yield at stop signs and red lights under certain circumstances; to amend the law concerning the use of bicycles, electric bicycles, and animals on public roads; and for other purposes.”

According to the new law, cyclists can yield to a stop sign instead of making a full stop as long as there is no danger of an accident.

Act 650 reads in part: “Right-hand turn at a steady red traffic control light without stopping after slowing to a reasonable speed and yielding the right-of-way, if required, to oncoming traffic that constitutes an immediate hazard.” Or, “left-hand turn onto a one-way road at a red light after stopping and yielding to oncoming traffic that constitutes an immediate hazard.”

In addition, a bill authorizing Arkansas to become the first state to form a Certified Child Abduction Response Team (CART) will come into play Wednesday.

The Natural State will be the first in the country to attempt a state-wide certification.

The teams are pre-organized, multi-disciplinary and multi-agency.

It’s all to ensure that reaction time is quick when a child is abducted or endangered.

Act 913 allows 12 certified teams around the state to mobilize when an abduction is reported.

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