Most distracted driving laws in Louisiana focus on texting and other text-based communication on cell phones. This is typical in most states. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), 48 states have laws against texting and driving, while 24 states ban any hand-held cell phone use.
If a driver is texting on the road or violates another distracted driving law, they may face penalties. In addition, if they cause a traffic collision because of their actions, they will likely be civilly responsible for the victims’ injuries and property damages.
Understanding the Dangers of Driving Distracted in Louisiana
Texting, dialing or reading on a cell phone requires your eyes to leave the road and hands to leave the wheel. Additionally, focusing on a phone takes a driver’s concentration off other vehicles, intersections and roadways around them. This type of distracted driving is incredibly dangerous and can cause severe car accidents.
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What Louisiana Laws Regulate Cell Phone Use While Driving?
According to the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, Louisiana has enacted legislation that bans:
Texting and Driving
Texting behind the wheel is a primary offense for all drivers in Louisiana under La. Rev. Stat. 32:300.5. This includes almost any type of text-based message you could send or receive, posting on social media, surfing the web, and even entering an address into a GPS app.Hand-held phones in school zones.
All drivers must use a hands-free device such as Bluetooth or speakerphone if using a cell phone in a school zone. The purpose of this law is to help keep children safe by increasing the chances that drivers in these areas have both hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road.
Cell Phone Use By Young Drivers
In Louisiana, young drivers cannot use their cell phones behind the wheel. This includes hands-free options for those under age 16.
Driving While Distracted Causes One-Fourth of Traffic Accidents in Louisiana
According to the Louisiana Department of Insurance, more than a quarter of all traffic accidents involve cell phone use, including hands-free devices. This means it may be possible that a distracted driver caused a crash but did not violate the state’s laws about smartphone use.
However, it is important to know that these are traffic laws, and the citations received are criminal in nature. An insurance claim or car accident lawsuit is a civil matter. This means that a distracted driver may be responsible for your crash even if they did not violate these laws.
To hold a driver accountable in a Louisiana traffic accident, you must show:
- They had a duty to drive in a non-dangerous manner
- They failed to uphold that duty
- These actions caused the crash
- You suffered harm as a result
While their cell phone use or another distraction may have played a role, the action that caused the accident is generally a violation of another traffic law. For example, imagine they were not paying attention so failed to see stopped traffic ahead and rear-ended you.
You would not need to show that they were on the phone, although this could strengthen your case. Instead, you would need to show they did not stop and struck your vehicle.
Recovering Fair and Just Damages for an Accident Caused By a Distracted Driver
If another driver caused the crash you might be able to claim your damages based on their required car insurance policy. Louisiana requires drivers to have auto liability coverage to pay for your medical care, property damages, lost wages, pain and suffering.
You can investigate your crash, gather evidence, value your case, and negotiate with the insurer on your own. However, working with a car accident lawyer that will handle the process for you can be extremely helpful.
If sueing is necessary to secure the compensation you deserve, you may have up to one year from the accident date to do so under La. Civ. Code Art. 3492. However, exceptions could mean you have even less time to get started.
We Provide Victims of Distracted Driving Accidents a Complimentary Case Review
You can speak to a team member from the Morris Bart law firm for free today. We offer consultations at no charge to accident victims. We are a personal injury law firm with 15 locations, including seven in Louisiana: New Orleans, Alexandria, Baton Rouge, Monroe, Lafayette, Shreveport, and Lake Charles.
Call (800) 537-8185 now to get started with your complimentary case assessment and to learn more about your legal options for compensation.
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