State Capitol Week in Review

LITTLE ROCK – Many of the bills approved by lawmakers earlier this year become effective on July 24, which is the 91st day after the legislature adjourned.

For example, Act 738, which strengthens traffic laws restricting the use of cell phones while driving, will be in place on July 24. The definition of texting has been expanded to include instant messaging and electronic data retrieval.

Act 738 prohibits drivers under the age of 18 from using a cell phone, or a hands-free device. Drivers who are 18, 19 and 20 may use a hands-free device while driving.

Drivers of all ages are prohibited from using a cell phone while in construction zones with workers present, or in school zones during school hours when students are present.

Fines for a first offense range from $25 to $250, and from $50 to $500 for a second offense. If the driver is in an accident or collision, the fines shall be doubled.

Also taking effect on July 24 is Act 650. It allows bicycle riders to slow down for stop signs and proceed through red lights, after stopping. In both instances the bicycles must yield to oncoming traffic and proceed cautiously.



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