Q Is it illegal to park in “no parking zones” if I use my hazard lights?
You have the absolute worst luck when it comes to parking. It seems that every time you’re driving, every single parking spot in Louisiana is taken. When you’re dropping the kids off and picking them up—the S.P. Arnett lot is always full. When you have to go into Brookshire Bros. or Market Basket, there’s no parking. Even when you have a doctors appointment at W.O. Moss, you have to wait 20 minutes for a spot.
Not today. Today you won’t wait to park. You see people do this all the time without any consequences, so today you’re going to use your hazards and park wherever you want.
Unfortunately, where you chose to park, was in the direct sight of an LCPD traffic officer. Apparently, your luck hasn’t changed, because the officer signaled you to turn off your car and is behind you taking down your license plate number. You’re confused because you see this all the time. So which is it? Is it or is it not illegal to use your hazards to bypass traffic laws?
Legality of Using Your Hazard Lights
In some states, it’s permitted to drive with your hazard lights on as you see fit. However, in others, it’s not permitted at all or is limited to emergency situations only to warn other drivers of potential hazards such as dangerous potholes, mudslides, or sudden construction.
In Louisiana, it is illegal to misuse your hazard lights and can lead to several legal consequences. These legal risks include:
- Tickets for driving with hazard lights on or parking illegally using hazard lights as your own personal parking sticker.
- Automatic points on your license for abusing hazard signals.
- Ticket or imprisonment for blocking emergency vehicles when illegally parked with hazard lights on.
- Prosecution for involuntary manslaughter if your illegal abuse of the lights directly results in a fatal accident or delay of emergency vehicles leading to a death.
- Summons for injury and damages hearings, if your hazards abuse resulted in an accident where the victim was seriously hurt or suffered monetary damages.
Although traffic laws vary from state to state, using your hazards as a way to pass traffic, get a closer parking space, or bypass traffic laws, is never a good idea and could get you in serious trouble if not seriously injured. Don’t risk the consequences, use your hazard lights properly and only for their intended use to avoid tickets, jail time, and a lifetime of regret.
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