As part of the “It Can Wait” movement, people across the country will pledge to never text and drive. City leaders in both Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley are encouraging their communities to join the movement.
“Safety is a top priority of this city, and it should be a top priority of every citizen in this city,” said Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan.
According to AT&T, drivers who text are 23 times more likely to be in an accident, and more than 100,000 car accidents each year are caused by texting while driving.
Mayor Jordan and Fort Smith Mayor Sandy Sanders both signed proclamations Thursday calling September 19 “It Can Wait Day” in their respective cities.
Mayor Sanders said it’s not just a safety concern but also following state laws. Sanders said the state passed a law making it illegal to text while operating a vehicle.
According to Fayetteville Police Chief Greg Tabor, it’s not just texting that is banned. He said any manual interaction with a cellphone including texting, typing, emailing and browsing the internet are all prohibited.
“It does not matter if the car is moving or not,” said Tabor. “If you are in actual control of your vehicle, you are prohibited from doing these types of things on your phone.”
Tabor said his department has written nearly 200 traffic citations during the past year for violations.
Mayor Sanders encourages drivers who must use their phone to show courtesy to others on the road by pulling over to respond to messages.
If you’re interested in taking the pledge, text “ARPLEDGE” to 464329.