If you drive in Louisiana, you’ve probably talked on your cell phone, sent a text message, or checked your social media account while driving. Even if you haven’t, you’ve probably seen other drivers doing these things. What you might not know is that Louisiana cell phone and texting laws make a lot of this behavior illegal.
Here are five things that you should know about Louisiana cell phone and texting laws so you don’t get pulled over and stay safe on the road.
1. It’s Illegal to Text While Driving in Louisiana
Even though many people in Louisiana do it, it’s illegal to text while driving. There are several exceptions to this rule (such as texting in emergency situations, reporting illegal activity, and preventing injury to a person or property), but it’s typically prohibited.
2. It’s Also Illegal to Use Social Media While Driving
There was a loophole in the texting prohibition that still allowed for social media use but that changed when the social media ban was added in 2013. It is now illegal to access, read, or post to social media while driving.
3. Minors Are Prohibited from Using Cell Phones While Driving
Drivers under 18 are entirely prohibited from using cell phones (whether to make calls or to text) while driving. Much like with texting, however, minors can use cell phones in emergencies.
4. Cell Phones Use Is Illegal during School Zone Times
Drivers are prohibited from using cell phones for any purpose in a school zone during posted school zone hours. This includes not only texting and using social media but also making calls. Again, there are exceptions for a handful of situations, such as emergencies.
Two important things to know about this ban: (1) it doesn’t apply to hands-free/Bluetooth use of cell phones and (2) it only applies in school zones where the school zone sign clearly says that hand-held device usage is prohibited.
5. Louisiana Cell Phone and Texting Laws Have Harsh Penalties
Texting and using social media while driving and using a cell phone in a school zone is punishable by up to a $175 fine for the first time and up to $500 for subsequent offenses. The fines are doubled if you are involved in a crash.
Cell phone use by minors is punishable by a fine of up to $100 or $250, depending on whether it is a first or subsequent offense. The fines are similarly doubled if the minor is involved in a crash.
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These laws are in place to keep drivers safe, but still, accidents happen.