According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, summer months are the most dangerous time of the year to be on the road.
There are more young people behind the wheel, more construction zones, and more cars on the road.
In fact, during the upcoming July 4th holiday period, nationwide projections indicate the number of Americans who plan to travel fifty miles or more away from home could top 47-million travelers.
Arkansas State Police are attempting to keep our roads safer in a number of ways.
First, the agency is increasing saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints this week as part of its Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign.
Statistics from the 2016 Fourth of July reporting period reveal that 188 people were killed nationwide in crashes involving at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. Compared to 2015, this is a 28 percent increase.
Second, the agency is also cracking down on drivers improperly using the left lane.
In the past 12 months, troopers have stopped about 1,100 drivers cruising in the left lane.
Driving in the left lane for anything other than passing can make other cars slow down and create a traffic backup.
Safety officials point to studies showing driving 5 mph slower than surrounding traffic is just as likely to cause an accident as speeding.
In 2013, the General Assembly addressed this by passing Act 965. It states:
“Motor vehicles shall not be operated continuously in the left lane of a multilane roadway whenever it impedes the flow of other traffic.”
This not only help ease congestion, it also provides a clear path for emergency vehicles.
And as a reminder, in 2017, the General Assembly voted to increase the penalty for texting and driving. The fine is $250 for the first offense. The legislation also clarifies that reading or posting on social media while driving is prohibited.
If you’d like to learn more about traffic laws in our state, we encourage you to follow the Arkansas State Police Facebook page where they frequently post traffic tips and safety guidelines.