Louisiana drivers who are on the road for any amount of time will know that the problem of distracted driving is prevalent. Being a distracted driver is inherently dangerous and is being exacerbated by the number of different things that can be done on cellphones as technology improves. One thing that many people choose not to do is to use hands-free technology so that they are not holding the device while driving.
The issue has been significant in the state in part because there was no ban on hand-held devices. That may be about to change as a ban on the practice is moving forward in the state legislature and is close to passage. The Senate is set to debate the proposed law. There is currently a prohibition on texting and driving and using a device for social media. The new law will make it illegal to hold the phone for any reason, including calling someone or getting a call, sending data or using the internet. Those who want to use their devices will be required to use a hands-free device to do so.
The law, should it pass, will not go into effect until 2019. Given that Louisiana is so high in the national rankings for traffic deaths – seventh overall – the goal of the hands-free ban is to stop people from taking part in a known dangerous activity that causes accidents. When there is a violation of the proposed new law, the first offense will lead to a $125 fine. It will be doubled for a second offense. Third and subsequent violations will result in the same $250 fine, but the drivers will also have their driver’s licenses suspended for 15 days.
Even if this law is passed, it does not mean that drivers will stop engaging in distracting behaviors behind the wheel. Those who have been in an auto accident with a distracted driver could be confronted with medical costs, lost wages from being unable to work and other issues that can last a lifetime. These can affect the person and family members. When there is a death, the family will be without a loved one due to a needless incident. Whether this law passes or not, those who are in car accidents should know that there is possibility that the accident was caused by a distracted driver.
Source: wwl.com, “Louisiana ban on hand-held cell use while driving nears passage,” May 10, 2018