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Distracted Driving Laws in Louisiana

Posted in Distracted Driving on November 11, 2020

Did you know that texting and driving is one of the most common causes of road accidents that occur in the US? It accounts for more than 65% of road accidents– and texting and driving accidents are the leading cause of death for teens.

It’s easy to feel like it’s possible to multitask while driving. The unfortunate truth is, though, that humans are notoriously poor multitaskers. None of us can safely operate a vehicle and a mobile phone at the same time. It’s just too risky.

What Is Distracted Driving?

According to the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, any activity that takes someone’s mind off of driving, takes their hands off the wheel, or takes their eyes off the road qualifies as a distraction.

Most of Louisiana’s distracted driving laws focus on the use of handheld cell phones while driving. This is because cell phone use and texting are two of the most common and dangerous distractions while driving.

Distracted Driving Laws In Louisiana

Louisiana has distracted driving laws that prohibit certain behavior while driving a vehicle. State laws mandate that someone cannot do any of the following while they drive:

  • Read, write, or send texts
  • Use social media
  • Use cell phones or other portable electronic devices in school zones
  • Use a cell phone under the age of 18 or use a wireless device (even hands-free) under the age of 16

Why does Louisiana have distracted driving laws?

Louisiana has laws specifically designed to combat distracted driving because it is so dangerous. When people drive distracted (like they do when they text and drive), they put everyone at risk.

Can You Use A Cell Phone While Driving In Louisiana?

It is illegal to use a cell phone to text message or post to a social networking site while operating a vehicle on any public road or highway. The fine is $175 for the first offense and $500 for each subsequent offense

La. R.S. 32:300.5

Every driver in Louisiana is banned from any activity that involves looking at a cell phone while operating a vehicle. Drivers may also not make calls while traveling in school zones within posted school hours. Drivers may not:

  • Write, send, or read text-based communications (emails, text messages, instant messages)
  • Open, read, or post to social media

There are rare exceptions to this rule, but they all involve emergencies. You may report emergencies or seek help using your phone if your personal safety is at risk while you drive.

Texting and Driving In Louisiana

Texting and driving in Louisiana is illegal— no matter who you are. It is a primary offense. That means that if someone is texting and driving, they can be pulled over by a police officer.

The dangers of texting and driving

The primary reason that texting and driving is so dangerous is that it distracts a driver in three ways:

  • Visually: Drivers need to take their eyes off of the road to read and send texts
  • Cognitively: Drivers have to remove at least one hand from the wheel in order to text
  • Mentally: Drivers need to focus on reading and answering texts

It’s easy for somebody who is texting and driving to drift between lanes, fail to notice traffic signs and signals, ignore other individuals’ presence, and so on. This is why it’s so dangerous for everyone on the road.

Using GPS While Driving In Louisiana

Louisiana allows the use of GPS and other navigation systems. In fact, you can even use a wireless communication device for navigational purposes while you drive. It’s always better to have a passenger handle this; but, if you’re by yourself, it’s legal to use GPS and directions-based phone applications.

Using Your Cell Phone When You are Stopped

Drivers in Louisiana are permitted to use their cell phones while they are legally parked— not while they are stopped.

Other Distractions While Driving

Wireless device usage isn’t the only way that someone can be distracted while they are driving. Even behaviors that many people think are totally acceptable behind the wheel are actually very distracting. Some surprising examples of distracted driving include:

  • Driving while eating
  • Driving while reading
  • Driving while applying makeup
  • Driving while talking to other people in the vehicle (like numerous teenagers in a car)
  • Looking around in the vehicle while driving

Compensation After A Texting and Driving Accident

If you have been hurt in a distracted driving accident in Louisiana, a lawyer may be able to help you pursue compensation for your losses. Some examples of damages that people commonly recover in distracted driving cases include:

  • Medical bills: Past, present, and projected medical bills associated with the accident; emergency transport, surgeries, prescriptions; physical or mental therapy, long-term care, custom medical equipment, etc.
  • Lost wages: Due to time missed at work
  • Diminished earning capacity: If someone’s ability to earn money is permanently diminished
  • Pain and suffering: To help account for the physical experience of the victim
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement

The Safest Way to Use Devices In the Car

The safest way to use devices in the car is to just avoid it. Most of us are incapable of safely using an electronic or mobile device while driving. Even hands-free devices can pose a significant risk– any distraction while driving is a dangerous one.

The Law Office of John W. Redmann Can Help

If you or someone you love has been hurt in a distracted driving accident, it’s important to reach out to an attorney. A legal professional can help you understand your rights and create a clear path forward for your case.

At the Law Office of John W. Redmann, our team works diligently to ensure that every client feels empowered in their fight for justice. We always recommend that accident survivors take advantage of a free consultation by calling us at 504-500-5000 or contacting us via the web.