In the United States, texting and driving is behind over 60% of all traffic accidents, and is the leading cause of death for teens. This epidemic of texting-related car accidents has led to many states banning texting while driving, including Louisiana. Distracted driving laws aim to prevent texting and driving accidents in Louisiana.
Not only can text messaging while driving cause extensive property damage; texting and driving accidents can lead to catastrophic injuries, steep medical bills, and higher insurance premiums. For optimum road and highway safety, don’t text and drive.
Is texting and driving illegal in Louisiana?
Yes. In most cases, texting and driving is prohibited by law in Louisiana, however, there may be exceptions in extreme circumstances. In addition, there are restrictions on other forms of cell phone use while driving depending on what kind of license you hold, as well as how old you are. There are different restrictions for each group, but there are some exceptions to those rules that apply to every driver.
Restrictions applying to all drivers (LA RS §32:300.5)
No one in Louisiana can operate any motor vehicle under the following circumstances:
- While using a cell phone device to write, send, or read a text-based communication
- While using a cell phone device to access, read, or post to social media
Consequences of violating this Section of Louisiana law include
- For the primary offense, a fine of not more than $500
- For subsequent violations, a fine of up to $1,000
- If the driver was using a cell phone and is involved in a traffic collision, these fines are doubled
If you’re asking, “Can I lose my license for texting and driving?” the answer is yes, if you’ve been charged with texting and driving more than once. You could have your license suspended for up to 60 days for repeated offenses.
Restrictions applying to Class E drivers and learners (LA RS §32:300.6)
Louisiana Class “E” learner’s license holders, and intermediate license holders, are barred from driving while engaged in the above activities, as well as
- While engaged in a phone call, unless using a hands-free phone
Under this Section, violations of the law are punished as follows:
- The first violation is punishable by a fine of up to $500
- Subsequent violations are punishable by up to $1,000
These fines are doubled if the driver is found to have been using a cell phone at the time of a crash
Restrictions applying to drivers under 18 (LA RS §32:300.7)
Drivers who are minors (“seventeen years of age or younger”) are prohibited from all of the above while operating a motor vehicle in Louisiana, as well as the following:
- While using a cell phone to make a call
- While using a cell phone to write, send, or read a text-based communication
Under this Section, punishments for violations are defined as follows:
- The first violation is punishable by a fine of up to $250
- Subsequent violations are punishable for up to $500, plus a 60-day suspension of the driver’s license
- If the driver is found to have been using a cell phone leading up to a crash, these fines are doubled
Exceptions to Louisiana texting and driving restrictions
For Louisiana drivers of all ages and licenses, there are certain exceptions during which it’s permissible to use a cell phone while driving. These exceptions include the following:
- A law enforcement officer, firefighter, or emergency vehicle driver using a cell phone or other handheld device while engaged in the actual performance of their duties
- Any driver who is using a cell phone to
- report illegal activity
- summon medical or other emergency help
- prevent injury to another person or property
- relay information between a transit or for-hire operator and that operator’s dispatcher, in which the device is permanently affixed to the vehicle
- navigate or use a global positioning system
- A physician or health care provider using the cell phone to communicate with a hospital or other healthcare center, or to otherwise respond to a medical emergency through text
Texting and Driving is Only One Type of Distracted Driving
While texting and driving is one of the most dangerous types of distracted driving, it’s only one of them. Distracted driving is engaging in any activity that takes your attention away from the road ahead, including
- Personal grooming
- Talking on the phone or to your passengers
- Tuning your radio
- Reaching for something in a cup holder, on the floor, or on another seat
- Experiencing road rage
- Driving while drowsy
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Why is texting and driving a problem?
You may think it’s “no big deal” to text and drive—after all, you can pay attention well enough. The fact of the matter is that texting and driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving with a blood alcohol level above 0.08%.
When drivers engage in activities other than focusing on the road ahead, they increase their risk for accidents by being less able to react to sudden changes in traffic. There are generally four types of distracted driving: cognitive distractions, manual distractions, auditory distractions, and visual distractions. Texting while driving is distracting in at least three of these four ways.
How many accidents are caused by texting and driving?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, around 400 crashes each year are directly caused by texting and driving. When you read and respond to a text message, you’re not only thinking of something other than driving—you’re looking away from the road for on average 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s the equivalent of driving a whole football field blindfolded. You’re also taking your hand off the wheel to use your phone, leading to a greater risk of losing control.
When Do I Need a Texting and Driving Accident Lawyer?
If you’re involved in an accident and suspect the other driver might have been texting and driving, make sure the officer arriving on the scene is aware. Their official report of the accident will serve as important evidence in your injury claim and resulting case.
As soon as you can after the accident, call an experienced car accident attorney at Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys for a free consultation about your legal options. Our knowledgeable personal injury lawyers will help you deal with insurance companies, and hiring a car accident lawyer is a good way to make sure you get the maximum compensation.
When you call the Get Gordon team, an experienced texting and driving accident lawyer will determine what you can expect in compensation and get started on your case. Give us a call at 888.501.7888 for a free consultation about your claim and begin your path to healing.