Louisiana is serious about stopping distracted driving, especially texting while driving. Texting while driving remains one of the worst and most common types of distracted driving. When you are texting, you are physically, visually, and cognitively focusing on another task other than driving. A driver who is texting while driving removes at least one hand from the steering wheel, takes his eyes off of the road, and stops thinking about what is going on outside of the vehicle. This is a dangerous combination that results in thousands of injuries and deaths each year.
A new proposed texting while driving law in Louisiana and new technology designed to detect if drivers were texting at the time of an accident may work to further dissuade drivers from breaking the law. Drivers should refrain from texting while driving simply because it is dangerous; however, we know that some drivers continue to text while driving. Maybe new laws will help prevent tragedies by increasing the penalties for those convicted of texting while driving.
New Proposed Bill Increases Penalties for Texting While Driving In Louisiana
Louisiana lawmakers have known the danger of texting while driving for some time. In August 2010, lawmakers passed a law making texting while driving a primary traffic offense. The law strengthened Louisiana’s texting ban by allowing law enforcement officers to stop drivers and issue tickets for texting while driving regardless of whether the driver committed any other traffic offense. Prior to the new law in 2010, Louisiana’s 2008 texting ban only permitted officers to issue tickets for texting if they had another reason for stopping the driver. The law did not increase the fine for texting while driving.
State Senator Yvonne Colomb proposed a bill that will increase the fines for texting while driving from $175 for a first offense to $500. For a second or subsequent conviction, drivers could face a fine of $1,000 instead of $500. The new law would also raise the fines for drivers under the age of 18 if they are convicted of texting while driving. The current fine for a minor is $100 for the first violation and $250 for subsequent violations. The new law raises the fines to $150 and $500.
Will Louisiana Begin Using the Textalyzer?
A bill before the New York legislature is receiving a great deal of media attention. If passed, the law allows police to use a device called a textalyzer to determine if a driver was texting or using a cell phone at the time of an automobile accident. The device scans the driver’s phone to determine if it was in use at the moment of the collision. Opponents claim the textalyzer violates privacy rights; however, those in favor of the law claim that it does not violate privacy rights because it only is used to tell whether the phone was in use. Police would still require a warrant to obtain data from the cell phone.
If New York passes the law, it could pave the way for the textalyzer to become a tool throughout the country to fight texting while driving. It is unknown of Louisiana will choose to put the textalyzer in use.
Have You Been Injured By A Distracted Driver?
If a distracted driver caused your car accident and you were injured, you have the right to receive compensation for your injuries. Call the car accident attorneys of The Olinde Firm at (504) 587-1440 or 1-800-587-1889 to schedule a free legal consultation.