New Arkansas law requires minimum wait after wrecks

| 3/22/2007

Gov. Mike Beebe has signed a bill into law in Arkansas that requires drivers involved in wrecks to remain at the scene for at least 30 minutes. The effort is intended to keep people at the scene of any wreck that results in injury, death or damage to vehicles, in case a law enforcement officer is en route.

The new law, previously HB1008, includes an exception for drivers who need to leave the wreck scene to render assistance.

Rep. Chris Thyer, D-Jonesboro, said he offered the bill after being told a story about a man involved in a car wreck who left his driver's license and registration with the other driver and then drove home. When officers arrived at his house, he was drinking a cocktail, the Arkansas News Bureau reported.

"My bill put some sort of time frame in there so that when police or a county sheriff are en route we're going to require the people involved in the accident to stay to respond to any police questioning or anything like that," Thyer told the News Bureau.

Thyer pointed out during discussion on the bill that current Arkansas law requires drivers in crashes to render aid but it doesn't place a time limit on the length of time people stay at the scene.

The 30-minute rule takes effect this summer.