Video shows car nearly hit state trooper; driver admitted to cell phone use

(Source: KAIT-TV)
(Source: KAIT-TV)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A video posted on Arkansas State Police's Facebook page is getting a lot of attention.

The video shows a distracted motorist who almost slammed into a State Trooper head on.

In the video, both are headed in opposite directions when the oncoming driver crosses the center line and nearly hits the officer.

In the dash cam video, the driver admits she was on her cell phone and not paying attention.

Trooper 1st Class with the Arkansas State Police, Dustin Morgan, said they're seeing an increase in the number of accidents and deaths caused by drivers on their phones.

"We're seeing a huge rise in distracted driving and texting," Morgan said. "Everybody's got a cell phone and, in fact, the cell phones we have now are smartphones and they're basically computers that can make telephone calls. So, there's a lot of checking social media, texting and driving, checking email, being on the internet. All kinds of distracted driving."

Morgan said the problem is people don't realize just how far they can travel in a matter of seconds.

"Basically, the average text message takes four to five seconds to read," Morgan said. "At 60 miles an hour, in four seconds you've covered nearly the length of the football field. Which is a long way to go with your eyes down looking at your phone."

Morgan said he would like people to stop and think about how important what they're doing on their phone is.

"I would like them to think about the urgency of what it is that they're about to check," Morgan said. "And how it would be maybe just a little inconvenient to pull over somewhere to check that. But the ramifications of what can happen so fast. You get in a wreck and someone is injured or killed over reading a text message. It's just not worth it, especially if it's you or a member of your family."

Morgan also said people are unaware of the changes that have happened with Paul's Law when it was amended last year.

"The first offense initially was a warning," Morgan said. "Now, it's a maximum of a $250 fine. Up to a $500 fine for a second offense. Also, if you're involved in a collision while you're texting a driving, the fines are doubled."

Morgan said people are also confused about who can do what on a cell phone.

"I think that there is some misconception about cell phones," Morgan said. "Driving in Arkansas, if you're over the age of 21 you can talk on a cell phone and drive. If you are between the ages of 18 and 21, you have to use a hands-free device. If you're under 18, barring an emergency, you can't be on a cell phone at all."

Morgan said the safest thing to do, just don't use a phone while you're driving.

To check out the video, click here.

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