Did you know that distracted driving is one of the main causes of accidents in Louisiana?
In 2020 alone, 166 deaths occurred due to distracted driving. In a report by Zutobi, Louisiana is ranked third in the list of most cases of distracted driving.
So what can we do to avoid distracted driving?
First, you must know and obey the Louisiana distracted driving laws. And from there, you must avoid other forms of distractions (even if it isn’t illegal).
This is why, today, we’re going to tell you everything you should know about the Louisiana distracted driving laws. We’ll also mention the penalties for breaking these laws, the 3 forms of distractions, and the danger of these distractions.
So without further ado, let’s begin!
Distracted Driving Laws in Louisiana
Louisiana’s distracted driving law focuses on the use of electronic mobile devices.
The law states that:
- Texting, reading, and sending messages are not allowed for all drivers
- Use of electronic mobile devices is allowed if it is in hands-free mode
- Use of electronic mobile devices, even hands-free, is not allowed for drivers with a learner’s permit or an intermediate license
- Use of electronic mobile devices, even hands-free, is not allowed for drivers under the age of 16
- The use of electronic mobile devices is not allowed in school zones
There is no prohibition on using a mobile device for calling or keying a number to call someone.
Distracted Driving Exemptions in Louisiana
There are instances when Louisiana’s distracted driving law does not apply.
Here are the instances:
- When seeking medical and emergency assistance
- When reporting a crime, accident, or emergency
- When you are legally parked
- When you are operating a licensed emergency vehicle and using an electronic mobile device is part of your duties
Likewise, if you are 17 and above and already have a full driver’s license, you are no longer prohibited to use your mobile device as long as it’s in hands-free mode.
You can still call a person or use your phone to help navigate the road. However, keep in mind that these are still examples of distracted driving, so best to avoid doing them even if your phone is mounted.
Distracted Driving Penalties in Louisiana
What happens when you are caught distracted driving?
Since the distracted driving law is a primary offense, a traffic enforcer can pull you over if they see you using your phone.
Now, the penalty for a first offense is $175.
Second and subsequent offenses can reach up to $500 for every violation.
No points are given on your driving record for distracted driving. However, auto insurance companies will be notified of every distracted driving offense. In turn, your auto insurance premiums may increase.
The 3 Forms of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving goes beyond just using your phone — it is any action, behavior, or incident that prevents you to do the following:
- Keep both hands on the steering wheel
- Keep your eyes on the road
- Have full focus on the task at hand
To make it easier, there are 3 forms of distracted driving as identified by the State of Louisiana. These are:
- Visual – any action or situation that takes your eyes off the road
- Manual – any action or situation that takes both your hands off the steering wheel
- Cognitive – any action or situation that distracts you from driving or from focusing on the road
NOTE: as you can see, using your phone uses all 3 forms of distraction. This is why so much focus is put on that specific distraction.
Here are some other examples of distracted driving:
- Eating and drinking
- Taking care of your pet or children
- Getting into a heated argument with a passenger or someone on the phone
- Looking at a map
- Listening to very loud music
- Watching something on your phone
Frequently Asked Questions
Got more questions about distracted driving in Louisiana? Then let’s answer some of the most asked questions.
Is talking on the phone while driving illegal in Louisiana?
If you are 17 and above, talking on the phone is not illegal in Louisiana as long as you do it hands-free. However, if you are below 17 and if you don’t have a full driver’s license, you are not allowed to talk on the phone even when using a hands-free device.
Is it illegal to eat and drive in Louisiana?
There are no laws that prohibit eating while driving in Louisiana. However, eating is an example of distracted driving, so it’s not advisable to do this.
If you need to eat, make sure you are parked legally to avoid any distractions.
Can you drive barefoot in Louisiana?
Yes, you can drive barefoot in Louisiana, but just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Driving barefoot has less grip than when you drive with shoes. Hence, the way you use the pedals can be affected by the lack of footwear.
Does Louisiana do enough to prevent distracted driving?
As we mentioned earlier, Louisiana is ranked third in the “most states with distracted driving accidents”.
So is the state doing enough?
If we compare Louisiana’s penalties with other states, it doesn’t have the most expensive fines for distracted driving. This may be a reason why people can perceive the state’s distracted driving laws as “not strict”.
What’s more, Louisiana’s distracted driving law only focuses on the use of electronic mobile devices. Other distracted driving behaviors are permitted, which can cause other distracted driving incidents.
And that was everything you needed to know about the Louisiana distracted driving laws.
Although the distracted driving laws in Louisiana only focus on phones, it’s a good idea to get rid of all kinds of distractions.
Make sure that you don’t do anything that goes against the 3 forms of distraction — manual, visual, and cognitive.
More than just avoiding the penalties, you should stay away from distractions to keep you, your passengers, and everyone around you safe.
Always choose to be a safe and responsible driver!