Louisiana, like many other states, has had many problems with drivers texting or using a handheld cellphone while behind the wheel. Despite passing laws banning the practice, there were still several drivers taking their eyes off of the road. Legislators were concerned that there was a loophole in the laws that allowed drivers to post to social media sites, like Facebook or twitter while they were behind the wheel.
In an effort to help reduce the number of car accidents caused by these motorists, a new bill was introduced that would ban the use of social networks while driving. The bill recently passed both the House and Senate, and was signed into law by the governor.
Prior to this bill passing, Louisiana had a distracted-driving law that banned texting while driving for all drivers. The state also prohibited cell phone use by novice drivers. However, even after these new changes to the laws have been made, individual municipalities are still restricted from passing more strict distracted driving rules.
The new law goes into effect on the first of August. Drivers caught posting to social networks face a fine of $175 for a first offense, and additional offenses could cause the fine to increase to $500. These penalties are similar to those in place for texting while driving.
The state still allows most drivers to use handheld cellphones while driving, potentially placing motorists at risk of an accident. If involved in a crash and the other driver admits to being distracted, be sure that this information is recorded in the accident report. It can be difficult to prove this later if a trial becomes necessary.
Those injured in crashes caused by a distracted driver should discuss their case with a personal injury attorney. Compensation may be available to help deal with any medical expenses or lost wages that resulted due to the accident.
Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune, “Bill banning tweeting, using Facebook while driving in Louisiana is signed into law,” Sheila V Kumar, May 31, 2013.