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Tailgates, pep rallies, football games, and parties. It is homecoming, the most iconic week of the school year. Homecoming is a week filled with events, for former and current students as well as family and residents of the community, which celebrate the culture of the school or university.

During this time, it is very important to hold safety as a top priority. Many people will be enjoying a local high school game or a college game this upcoming weekend. There will also be many great parties and other festivities occurring throughout the week as well. Whatever your plans may be, and if those plans involve alcohol, make sure you remember to "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over."

Safety to and from the various events that will occur this week is just as important as attending the events. Please remember that Arkansas law prohibits texting while driving, regardless of the driver's age. It is also a "primary offense law" which means a police officer or sheriff's deputy can initiate a traffic stop without observing any other violation. Texting violations carry the same maximum fines as cell phone tickets: $25 to $250 for a first offense and $50 to $500 for a second or subsequent offense. And fines are doubled for violations that involve collisions.

"When you text while driving  you take your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and your mind is distracted from performing its primary task, which is driving safely," said Sheriff Lafayette Woods, Jr. "You put everyone's life around you on the streets and highways in danger, and no one has the right to do that."

While everyone looks forward to the good times, reunions, and of course, the marching bands, it is important that we practice caution, think responsibly, and follow these tips to put your and others' safety first.

  1.     Be mindful of your surroundings.
  •    Be aware of what's going on around you at all times.
  •    Take notice of street names, parking signs and landmarks.
  •    If you suspect you are being followed, cross the street, change direction or go to a place where others are standing.
  1.     Drink Responsibly.
  •    Don't consume alcohol if you are less than 21 years of age.
  •    Do not accept open container drinks from strangers.
  •    Designate drivers who have agreed not to consume any alcohol or call a friend.
  1.     Protect your valuables.
  •    Secure all valuable items in the trunk of your vehicle. Do not leave valuables visible in your car.
  •    Keep handbags close when not accessing contents.
  •    Secure cell phones and electronic devices properly when not in use.
  1.     Have Fun.

Homecoming is meant to be an enjoyable event for everyone. Don't allow fear of danger to prevent you from having a memorable experience and soaking in the magic that is homecoming! Every year is a new adventure, filled with memories that will last a lifetime.

Happy Homecoming from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office. Have a great time!

Click here for The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff's homecoming schedule.


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Lafayette Woods, Jr. Sheriff