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New Arkansas Laws Passed

Governor has signed more than 1,000 bills

Posted: April 3, 2011 at 5:57 a.m.

Cpl. Dennis Johnson, of the Arkansas State Police, keeps an eye on traffic Thursday flowing into a work zone on an access road parallel to Interstate 540 near exit 62. Numerous new laws have been approved by legislators in the last few weeks, including changes to which police agencies can patrol interstates and new restrictions on motorists using cellphones in work zones.

The 88th General Assembly is winding down and at least 1,058 bills had been signed into law by Gov. Mike Beebe as of Friday afternoon, according to governor’s spokesman Matt DeCample. Several more remain to be signed. Legislators introduced 2,234 bills for consideration during the session. Several will affect residents of Northwest Arkansas.

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This part of the new law sounds like a real pain. Using cellphones or navigation systems will be prohibited after Oct. 1 in all highway work zones and school zones in Arkansas. Technically if you are driving across any area of the state you might have your navigational system on, are you expected to turn it off when the highway work zone appears and then turn it back on when it's over? Same with a school zone, if GPS happens to route me through a school zone am I to fiddle with it and turn it off? I doubt this was the intention but it could be enforced that way. Prohibition of initiating a navigational system or phone call in those zones makes more sense.

Posted by: suek

April 3, 2011 at 9:26 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

SueK, excellent point. This is why "laws passed in haste" usually have unintended consequences.

Posted by: Ran2133

April 3, 2011 at 3:25 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

SueK,

I agree. For instance is this specified as a moving violation? Could an over zealous cop looking to pad the city's coffers write me a ticket for reading a book on my phone while sitting in the car line waiting to pick up my kids?

Laws need to be written very carefully and specifically to avoid being abused.

Posted by: Nilatir

April 3, 2011 at 6:23 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

I don't think the law is intended or written that way, however, I have not read the law ... yet. I would almost bet that it states something along the lines of "manipulating a GPS device", as in typing in the address while you are driving through the work zone or school zone. I would bet that cellular phone law is written in the same manner, stating if you are placing, receiving, or conducting a phone call or text message it would be prohibited .... I would dare hope no officer would write you a ticket for reading an E-Book on your phone while you are waiting in line, unless you are driving in line.

Posted by: KnightWatchman

April 3, 2011 at 9:29 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

I think this is a case of news story posted in haste. The new law specifically exempts GPS devices. It's all about cell phones and it's all about using your hands on one. You can cruise through a school zone on speaker phone or with any other hands-free method. Leave your GPS on. It's fine. http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembl...

Posted by: susiedoerr

April 4, 2011 at 9:08 a.m. ( | suggest removal )