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Louisiana lawmakers are considering “hands-free” driving legislation

On Behalf of | May 6, 2024 | Car Accidents

Louisiana is getting closer to prohibiting drivers from using hand-held cellphones and other electronic devices. A bill currently in the state legislature, if it becomes a law, would fine drivers up to $1,000 if they’re caught and, in some cases, even cause them to lose their driving privileges for two months.

The fine would double if a driver is involved in a crash while on a hand-held device. Of course, there could be other consequences as well, such as liability for injuries and damage caused by such a crash.

Louisiana is among the deadliest states when it comes to distracted driving

While these bans have been in place for some time in other states, Louisiana has thus far resisted – with the exception of school zones and restrictions for those under 17. While some drivers claim they should have the freedom to use their phone while driving in whatever way they want, there’s no disputing Louisiana’s dubious distinction of having one of the highest rates of fatalities caused by distracted driving in the country.

Of course, there are numerous other types of distractions, like the infotainment centers in many vehicles, food and drinks and other passengers. However, using hand-held devices occupies people’s minds, eyes and hands simultaneously, which is a highly dangerous combination while driving.

More about the proposed law

Specifically, the legislation as it’s now written would prohibit talking on the phone, sending any kind of message or using social media on a handheld device. There would be exceptions for calling 911 to report an accident or crime.

The bill has already passed in the Louisiana House of Representatives. If it passes in the senate and is signed by the governor, it would take effect on Aug. 1. However, only warnings would be issued until Jan. 1 of next year, when it would fully take effect.

There’s nothing you can do to stop someone else on the road from getting wrapped up in a phone call, text or other communication while they’re driving (hands-free or not), However, it’s generally possible for law enforcement to determine whether they were on a device when they caused a crash. If you or a loved one is a victim of this scenario, seeking legal guidance can help you as you work to get the maximum compensation for medical bills and other expenses and damages.