Traffic Safety Laws in Louisiana

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Below is a listing of basic Traffic Safety Laws in Louisiana.

Drivers should be aware that it is now a ticketable offense to drive while “texting” and driving with a “headset” or “headphones”.

Likewise, anyone under 12, is prohibited from riding in the open bed of a pick-up. This law alone (if in effect years ago) would have eliminated many of my best childhood memories.

Also, be aware, that while a DWI is a serious offense, penalties are increased for those issued a DWI while their children are in the vehicle. You not only end up with a DWI but child endangerment charges also.

For your reference and information, some of these basic traffic safety laws are set out and linked below:

Cell Phones – New drivers (R.S. 32:300.5) prohibits texting for those with “learners” or “intermediate” license, fine max $175, moving violation; it is a primary offenseTexting while driving (R.S. 32:300.5) no person shall operate any motor vehicle upon any public road or highway of this state while using a wireless telecommunications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication; it is a primary offense

Zero Tolerance for under 21 (R.S. 14:98.1) – .02 BAC** for persons under 21 years of age.

Alcohol under 21 (R.S. 14:93.10) (R.S. 14:93.11) (R.S. 14:93.12) – It is illegal for persons under the age of 21 to buy, consume, or have an alcoholic beverage in their possession.

Provider (R.S. 14:93.13) – It is illegal for any person, other than a parent, spouse, or legal guardian, to purchase alcohol beverages on behalf of a person under 21 years of age.

Contributing (R.S. 14:92) – Intentional, enticing, aiding, soliciting, or permitting, by anyone over the age of 17, of any child under the age of 17, with no exception for emancipation, marriage, or otherwise, to visit any place where alcohol is the principle commodity sold or given away.

Child Endangerment (R.S. 14:98.J) – If a child 12 years or younger is a passenger in a vehicle where the driver is charged with DWI the minimum mandatory sentence for 1st -3rd DWI conviction shall not be suspended and for 4th DWI conviction at least two years of the sentence shall be imposed without benefit of suspension.

Improper Supervision (R.S. 14:92.2) – A parent or legal custodian of a minor, through criminal negligence, the permitting of a minor to violate a local or municipal curfew ordinance or enter the premises known by the parent or custodian as a place of underage drinking.

Open Container (R.S. 32:300) – It is illegal for any occupant of a vehicle to possess an alcoholic beverage that is open to consumption.

BAC .08 (R.S. 14:98) – DWI for all drivers over the age of 21 is .08 BAC; under 21 the BAC limit is .02

Driver’s License Seizure (R.S. 32:414) – A DWI conviction will result in a 365 day suspended driver’s license.

Refusal of chemical test and consequences (R.S. 32:666) – A driver involved in a fatality does not have the right to refuse a chemical test to determine alcohol impairment. As a result of any other violation that prohibits operating a vehicle while intoxicated the suspect may refuse after being told the consequences. Result of consequences: Driver’s license will be seized, issuance of license or permit denied for 6 months, refusal is admissible in a criminal action and a civil action to suspend, revoke, or cancel his driving privileges.

Child Occupant Seatbelt (R.S. 32:295) – Children under the age of 6 years or less than 60 lbs. must be in a child restraint system or booster seat that is age and size appropriate, in accordance with manufacturers recommendations. Children 6 to 12 years of age must be restrained by a lap belt, shoulder harness, or an age / size appropriate child safety or booster seat.

Motorcycle Helmet (R.S. 32:190) – All motorcycle operators and passengers must wear a motorcycle helmet.

Driving with headsets on (R.S. 32:295.2) – Prohibits the wearing of headphones by any operator of a motor vehicle. “Headphones” are defined as a headset, headphone, or listening device other than a hearing aid , which covers or is inserted in both ears. Law enforcement and certain motorcycle helmets are exempted from enforcement. The penalty is a $25 fine plus court costs.

Pickup Trucks (R.S. 32:284) – Under 12 years of age may not ride in an open truck bed or trailer.

We hope your review these basic laws and find them useful.

Remember to contact any of our offices if you are arrested and charged with DWI or other related offenses.

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By George Vourvoulias

George is a founding member and managing member of Harmon, Smith & Vourvoulias L.L.C., a New Orleans law firm. George concentrates his practice in maritime personal injury, construction litigation, personal injury, workers' compensation, medical malpractice, and DUI defense. George Vourvoulias's Google+ Profile