Louisiana Traffic & Safety Laws
Cell Phones – New drivers (R.S. 32:300.6) – limits those driving with a Class “E” learner’s permit or an intermediate license to use of a “hands free” cell phone. This is a moving violation, but is a secondary offense and may not be the sole reason for the stop. True emergencies are excepted. First offense fine max is $175; subsequent violations – up to $500. If using the hands on phone and driving when a crash occurs the above fines may be doubled.
Cell Phones – Minors (R.S. 32:300.7) – Those driver’s under 17 may not lawfully use any wireless communications device to send or receive a call or send or read a text while driving. Certain emergencies are excepted. This is a primary offense and a moving violation. Max fine is $100 for first offense; $200 for subsequent offenses and double if a crash is involved.
Texting 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 moving violation and a primary offense. The first violation is punishable by a $175 fine. Each subsequent violation is punishable by a $500 fine. Navigation with a global positioning system and use during emergencies are allowed.
Graduated Licensing (R.S. 32:407) – Applies to first time driver license applicants 15-17 years old. Those aged 15 must complete a DPS approved driver’s education course, pass an eye test and pass a road knowledge test in order to receive a learner’s permit. Upon turning 16, the learners permit may be converted to an intermediate license if the learner’s permit has been held for at least 6 months with no at-fault driving accidents or moving violations or seat belt violations. The applicant must also pass an on-road skills test and the parent or guardian must provide a signed statement that the applicant has at least 50 hours of supervised driving practice with a licensed adult driver and at least 15 of those hours must be a night. A curfew is imposed. After one year free of at-fault accidents and no citations, the intermediate license may be upgraded to a regular class E license.
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 to drive or occupy a moving motor vehicle in possession of an alcoholic beverage 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 suspension for first offense; two years for second offense and three years for third and subsequent offenses.
Refusal of chemical test and consequences (R.S. 32:666) (R.S. 32:667) – Third refusal of a chemical test for blood alcohol arising from DWI arrest is a crime under R.S. 14:98.2. A refusal of such test by a driver in a fatal crash is illegal. First refusal subjects the offender to a one year driver’s license suspension, with a two year suspension for subsequent offenses.
Ignition Interlock (R.S. 32:378.2) (R.S. 32:415.1A(1)(f)) (R.S. 32:667) – The restricted hardship driver’s license is available to offenders suspended for a DWI conviction or for refusing or failing a chemical test subsequent to a DWI arrest. Second offense convictions must be suspended 45 days before eligibility for the interlock license occurs and third offenders must wait a year before obtaining the interlock restricted license.
Primary seatbelt (R.S. 32:295.1) – Vehicle 10,000 lbs. or less, all occupants must have seat belt when vehicle is in motion.
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.
Child Restraint Affidavit (R.S. 32:414T) – The department shall send written notification to the driver to inform them of 30 day allowance for the driver to show an affidavit for proof that an appropriate child safety seat has been obtained. Following the 30 day period, if not affidavit has been provided, the Department shall suspend the license of any person upon notification of the first or second conviction, until such time as he provides the department with a notarized affidavit stating he has acquired an approved age- or size-appropriate child restraint system where applicable and has complied with all other requirements of reinstatement as provided by law and department regulation.
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.
Incompetence (R.S. 32:424) – The Department of Public Safety and Corrections may, with good cause, request any driver to submit to an examination to insure his competency to possess a Louisiana driver’s license. Refusal to submit is grounds for suspension of license.
Headlights (R.S. 32:301) (R.S. 32:322) – Every vehicle upon a highway within this state shall display lighted lamps and illuminating devices (1) At any time between sunset and sunrise. (2) When, due to insufficient light or unfavorable atmospheric conditions, persons and vehicles on the highway are not clearly discernible at a distance of five hundred feet ahead. (3) When moisture in the air or precipitation necessitates the continuous use of windshield wipers.
Move Over (R.S. 32:125) – Upon the immediate approach of an authorized emergency vehicle making use of audible or visual signals, or of a police vehicle properly and lawfully making use of an audible signal only, the driver of every other vehicle shall yield the right-of-way and shall immediately drive to a position parallel to, and as close as possible to, the right-hand edge or curb of the highway clear of any intersection, and shall stop and remain in such position until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed, except when otherwise directed by a police officer.