Texting and other distractions while driving contribute to a significant percentage of serious auto accident injuries. According to data from the National Safety Council, approximately 26% of car crashes involve cell phone use, and drivers who are talking or texting are four times more likely to have a collision than non-distracted drivers are.

Because of these dangers, Louisiana law prohibits driver use of wireless communication devices.

Restricted actions

Drivers may not do the following on their devices while driving:

  • Talk on the phone during school hours in a school zone
  • Sign into, post to or read social media apps
  • Read, write or send text messages, emails and instant messages

Exceptions exist for drivers reporting criminal activity, reporting an emergency or using GPS. These prohibitions do not apply to first responders performing official duties.

Otherwise, failure to abide by this law carries up to $500 in fines for the first offense, or $1,000 when a driver causes an accident while distracted. Second offenses result in $1,000 in fines and a 60-day license suspension.

Students and underage drivers

In addition to the restrictions above, if you have an intermediate license or learner’s permit, you may talk on a cell phone while driving only with a hands-free device. This does not apply to a driver reporting criminal activity or an emergency.

Penalties for adults in this group who receive a distracted driving ticket are the same as for fully licensed drivers. However, drivers younger than 18 receive lesser penalties, including a $250 fine for the first offense and a $500 fine and 60-day license suspension for the second offense.

Protect yourself and others on Louisiana roads by closely following these safety laws. Avoiding distractions while driving can reduce your risk for an auto accident resulting in serious personal injury. In addition to device use, distractions including eating, drinking and conversations with passengers while behind the wheel.