Were you cited for a traffic violation in Arkansas in 2016? If so, you weren’t alone. State officials reported more than 29,000 traffic violations for the year ranging from improper parking to driving while impaired.
Citations related to operating a vehicle often are for minor offenses, but some are considered serious and could result in injury or death both to the perpetrator and to other innocent people on the road.
What are the traffic violations for which motorists are cited most often in Arkansas?
Careless and Prohibited Driving
By far, careless and prohibited driving ranked as the most common among the list of traffic violations on Arkansas roads in 2016. Officials reported more than 5,400 citations across the state.
One reason the violation occurs so often is that it covers a broad range of forbidden behaviors. The unlawful driving actions noted in state law under careless and prohibited driving include:
- Driving carelessly or inattentively.
- Failing to watch for other traffic.
- Failing to maintain proper control of the vehicle.
- Improper or unsafe lane changes.
- Driving on private property to avoid intersections, stop lights and stop signs.
- Driving in a way that causes tire spinning or skidding.
- Driving too close to fixed objects, stopped cars or people.
With more than 3,400 counts cited, speeding at 1 to 15 miles over the speed limit ranked as the second-most common traffic violation for 2016.
Arkansas uses an “absolute” system of enforcing laws related to speeding. Motorists who are caught going even a mile over the speed limit are considered to have broken the law and can be punished.
In addition, drivers can receive tickets for driving at an unsafe speed even if they are not exceeding the posted speed limit.
Possible defenses to a speeding violation include questioning the method by which the speed was measured or claiming that the officer erred in pulling over a vehicle that looked like another nearby speeding vehicle.
Penalties for speeding vary based on the severity of the offense and the number of previous violations. Under state law, an individual cited for the first time could receive a jail sentence of no more than 10 days, a fine not greater than $100, and a license suspension not more than a year.
Driving on a Suspended License
The state temporarily suspends driver’s licenses for a number of reasons, including offenses related to alcohol, along with points accumulated on a driver’s license for multiple traffic violations.
Alcohol offenses that can result in license suspension include driving while impaired and refusing a breath test. Drivers under the age of 21 can have their driver’s licenses suspended if they’re charged with driving while their blood-alcohol content is above 0.02 percent.
More than 2,700 counts of driving on a suspended license were lodged against Arkansas motorists in 2016.
In all, the state of Arkansas lists 213 different traffic violations for which motorists were cited in 2016. Beyond the top three, what are some of the other most-common violations?
Owners’ failure to register a vehicle or having expired tags accounted for more than 1900 citations, while not having a driver’s license or having an expired license was cited more than 1,500 times for the year.
Failure to present proof of insurance and speeding more than 15 miles over the speed limit each racked up more than 1,300 citations. Police also lodged more than 1,280 counts of failing to have liability insurance.
Driving a vehicle without tags or with fictitious tags each accounted for more than 700 citations. Failure to stop at a red light, obey a stop sign or wear a seatbelt also ranked high on the list, with more than 500 citations each.
Understanding the State’s Point System
Most traffic offenses do not carry severe penalties on their own. Over time, though, they can add significant points to a motorist’s driver’s license that can carry severe consequences.
The state uses the Administrative Point System to identify drivers who repeatedly cause problems on the roads. All moving violations receive points from 3 to 14 depending on the severity of the infraction. For instance, a ticket for speeding at 1 to 15 miles over the speed limit would count for 3 points, while a charge of reckless driving would warrant 8 points.
Motorists are mailed warning letters after they have received approximately 10 to 13 points letting them know that penalties might apply if they accrue more points. After 14 points, drivers receive a notice of a hearing to discuss proposed license suspension.
Points accrual can result in the following license suspension terms:
- Up to three months, 14 to 17 points.
- Up to six months, 18 to 23 points.
- One year, 24 or more points.
Work with a Lawyer if You’ve Been Injured
Have you been injured in a crash caused by someone who violated traffic laws? If you or a loved one have suffered injuries, consider working with an experienced personal injury lawyer to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost time from work, and other expenses. For a consultation, please contact the Law Offices of Alan Levar.