Q What does the Louisiana driving law say about distracted driving?
We’ve all seen it, some of us actually do it ourselves when we think no one is watching, but it’s still dangerous and illegal. You’re driving down a busy road such as I-10 and the car in front of you keeps swerving for no apparent reason—you get a little worried so you decide to pass him. As you do so, curiosity gets the better of you and you slyly look to see if there is a reason for his bad driving. Not surprisingly, you notice he isn’t paying any attention to the road but rather focusing all his concentration on his cell phone. You shake your head and try to get as far away from him as possible because you fear he is going to cause an accident.
Unfortunately, this scenario happens all the time with an alarmingly high and tragic outcome. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 20011, approximately 20 percent of all Louisiana car accidents occurred as a result of distractions caused by cell phones and other electronic devices. This statistic, as well as federal grants, led Louisiana to add a state traffic law limiting vehicle texting and cell phone use.
Distracted Driving Regulations
Although Louisiana has yet to ban all cell phone use while driving, the current restrictions are mandatory for drivers and if caught, could result in heavy fines and/or incarcerations. Some of the details are as follows:
- Texting ban for ALL drivers – If driver is seen texting or reading a text while the vehicle is in motion, the law will be enforced.
- Handheld ban for beginner drivers, regardless of age (driving with a learner’s permit or intermediate license) – Enforced if a cell phone or any wireless communication device is in your hand for any reason including texting, talking or web surfing.
- Ban on ALL cellphone use for novice drivers (first year of license and/or primarily under the age of 18) and bus drivers – This includes handheld and hands-free devices for any reason.
An added restriction, prohibiting use of social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, may also soon be added to the laws.
Disobedience of these primary laws can lead to a max fine of $175, moving violations, and revoked licenses for repeat offenders in addition to any injuries or legal consequences sustained for causing an accident.
April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Show your support by sharing this article with friends and family on Facebook and Twitter (not while driving, please), and learn more about the dangers of distracted driving by browsing our website for more informative articles. Let’s keep our roads safe—texting can wait.