Louisiana traffic laws are meant to improve safety on our roads. Therefore, drivers must respect all traffic laws. It is essential to take time and understand these laws before hitting the road. Violations could lead to a conviction, hefty fines, suspension of driver’s license, and other consequences.
Below are some of the common Louisiana traffic laws that residents, tourists, and road trip drivers should know.
Residents of Louisiana operating vehicles on public streets and highways must have a valid driving license (LRS 32:52). You cannot drive on a suspended or revoked license.
If you’re a new Louisiana resident, you’ll need to obtain a license within 30 days after your residency status is confirmed. Drivers from other states but with valid licenses are permitted to use the Louisiana roads for 90 days.
You may not be required to have a Louisiana driver’s license if:
- You’re a non-resident student with a student ID and driver’s license that’s valid in your state
- You’re a member of the Armed Forces operating a vehicle owned by the U.S government
- You’re operating a farm tractor or implements
- You’re temporarily operating road machinery on the highway.
Registered motor vehicles should be covered by an automobile liability policy from an insurer authorized to transact in Louisiana (LRS 32:861). However, this does not apply to agricultural, forest, or exhibit vehicles during the periods they are not used on the road or highway.
Driving under the influence (DUI)
It is a criminal offense to get behind the wheel when under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substance (LRS 14:98). In Louisiana, the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is:
- .02 for drivers under 21 years old
- .04 for commercial drivers
- .08 for drivers over 21 years of age
If you’re arrested for driving while intoxicated or under the influence the first time, your license can be suspended for 90 to 365 days and be fined between $300 and $1,000, excluding court fees. You could also spend ten days to 6 months in jail and serve up to 32 hours of community service.
Under LRS 32:61, drivers cannot exceed a speed of 55 mph, unless there’s a lower maximum speed posted on the highway by the Department of Transportation and Development.
Exceptions apply to interstate and multi-lane divided highways with partial or controlled access. For interstate or access-controlled highways, the speed limit is 70 mph. You will not exceed 65 mph when driving on a multi-laned highway.
The LRS 32:398 law requires drivers involved in a vehicle accident that results in injury, death, or property damage to report the incident to the local police and provide their personal and contact details.
Both the driver and passengers should wear a safety belt when a vehicle is in a forward motion (LRS 32:295.1). If a driver is transporting a child, the vehicle should be equipped with a child passenger restraint belt system that complies with federal regulations.
Text messaging and social networking while driving
Drivers are prohibited from using cell-phones or wireless devices while driving on public roads or highways (LRS 32:300.5). You cannot write, send, or read text messages. Also, you’re not allowed to engage in any social media activity while behind the wheel.
The texting and driving provisions may not apply to specific situations, including when:
- Seeking emergency help
- Reporting an emergency
Seeking legal advice or representation
If you’re having trouble with the authorities for violation of the Louisiana traffic laws or you’ve hurt in a car accident, contact New Orleans personal injury lawyer, Mike Mahone, right away.