Louisiana Distracted Driving Laws Explained

This year, House Bill 619, which would have prohibited the use of all wireless telecommunication devices in moving vehicles, unless the driver uses hands-free technology, made its way to the Senate in May but fizzled out by mid-November.

“Currently our state is 49th in the U.S. for the most distracted drivers,” Rep. Mike Huval said in a local report. “We’re the seventh highest for traffic fatalities in the United States.”

Below, the injury lawyers at Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson explain Louisiana’s current distracted driving laws and why the House-backed proposal didn’t pass.

Louisiana’s Distracted Driving Laws

Distracted driving is any activity that takes a driver’s attention away from the road.

Although distractions are apparent in a variety of driving behaviors like eating, personal grooming, tuning the radio, etc., cell phone use tops the list in our state.

In an effort to reduce crashes, cell phone laws were passed in 2008. Specifically, the laws prohibit the use of wireless telecommunication devices for text messaging while operating a vehicle.

Our laws also restrict young and inexperienced drivers: drivers less than 18 years old or in their first year of licensure are prohibited from using any wireless communication device while driving. These laws also apply to adults with a learner’s permit or intermediate license.

Furthermore, school zone laws prohibit all drivers from using any wireless device when driving through a school zone.

While these laws may seem ordinary, clarification is required to establish what’s meant by text-based communication.

For example, Louisiana’s current text ban extends to posting or communicating on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. However, it does not include manually dialing a phone number to call a friend or taking selfies.

This has made it challenging for law enforcement to enforce distracted driving laws effectively.

House Bill 619 would have closed this loophole by making it illegal to hold a cell phone in one or both hands while driving.

Why Did House Bill 619 Fail?

According to the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles, the number one driver distraction involved in most crashes is cell phone use; specifically, texting, and especially among teen drivers.

However, critics of House Bill 619 say there’s a clear distinction between holding a phone to one’s ear and responding to an email via text.

Some suggested Louisiana should change the penalty from a non-moving violation to a moving violation, which could potentially increase a driver’s insurance premiums.

Others argue the new legislation adversely affects the poor, “who don’t have newer cars with Bluetooth capability, more advanced smartphones, or money for headsets.”

It’s difficult to find consensus on the primary issue: do hands-free cell phone laws decrease crash statistics? Early studies suggested they do not, but many proponents of hands-free cell phone laws believe it’s the first step in the right direction.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “We know that high-visibility campaigns and enforcement, like Click It or Ticket and Drunk Driving. Over The Limit. Under Arrest has had a positive influence on driver behavior. That’s why seat belt use is at an all-time high of 84 percent and drunk driving is declining.”

More than a dozen states have implemented bans similar to House Bill 619, but inaction from the Louisiana Senate killed the proposal in November.

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Louisiana Statutes of Limitations Explained

If you’ve been injured or suffered a loss because of someone’s careless behavior or negligence, understanding Louisiana’s statutes of limitations can be critical to your claim.

Statutes of limitations address an important component of civil and criminal proceedings: the effects of time. Specifically, how much time can pass before reliable evidence may become compromised.

Below, the attorneys at Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson discuss Louisiana’s statutes of limitations in more detail. Continue reading “Louisiana Statutes of Limitations Explained”

Do I Have a Case?

Accidents are unexpected, unfortunate incidents that sometimes result in damage or injury. But what you do after an accident shouldn’t be left to chance or circumstance.

If you’ve been injured, the first step toward recovery is determining if you have a case. This step-by-step guide can help you weigh your options.

Below, the attorneys at Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson explain what makes a viable personal injury case. Continue reading “Do I Have a Case?”

When Do Defective Products Get Recalled?

Defective products and recalls are not synonymous terms: the former is often the result of an absent or ineffective recall; the latter is a process initiated by a manufacturer when a product poses a public safety risk.

Below, the personal injury lawyers from Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson explore the differences between product recalls and defective products, how to avoid dangerous products, and what to do if a defective product causes injury. Continue reading “When Do Defective Products Get Recalled?”

SSD Denial: What You Need To Know

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Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSD, is a government-funded program managed by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

The program is funded by payroll tax contributions; it covers every employee paying into social security.

However, just because you’ve been injured doesn’t automatically mean you’ll get SSD benefits.

In fact, the majority of Louisiana’s SSD applicants are denied benefits during the application process—approximately 65 percent of initial claims are denied.

Rejected claims are typically the result of missing records, improper filing, or lack of legal advocacy.

If your Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits have been denied, don’t panic. Below, the social security disability lawyers at Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson explain Louisiana’s SSD appeals process.   Continue reading “SSD Denial: What You Need To Know”

The Cost Of Offshore Injuries

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), onshore and offshore oil and gas extraction industries have a collective fatality rate seven times higher than all other U.S. workers.

Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana are overrepresented by oil and gas extraction fatalities; however, the public rarely hears about these accidents unless a significant disaster occurs.

Below, the maritime injury lawyers at Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson discuss how these devastating accidents impact families and our community. Continue reading “The Cost Of Offshore Injuries”

Texting And Driving Statistics

Cell phone use while driving is a problem in Louisiana: according to one report, nearly half of all drives in Louisiana include unsafe phone use—that’s more than any other state.

When drivers get distracted, people get hurt. And when people get hurt in Louisiana, the lawyers at Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson can help. Our car accident attorneys know how devastating a crash can be, especially one caused by a distracted driver.

Below, we’ve outlined state texting laws as well as important facts and statistics to underscore the importance of focused driving.

Share this information with your family and friends (especially teen drivers) to ensure their safety and the safety of others. Continue reading “Texting And Driving Statistics”

Why You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer

In September, The Institute for Legal Reform (ILR), an influential advocacy group raised by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released the 2017 Lawsuit Climate Survey: Ranking the States.

This annual report evaluates state liability systems through the economic lenses of corporate America and attempts to persuade state and federal changes through pragmatic research and reporting.

According to the report, the New Orleans or Orleans Parish in Louisiana ranks last among all states for its liability system. Continue reading “Why You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer”

Louisiana HS Football Participation Increases While National Numbers Decline

As the national number of high school football players decreases, states like Louisiana are actually seeing an increase in high school football participation.

Since 2014, nationwide participation in high school football dropped 2.3 percent; in Louisiana, however, participation reached an all-time high in 2015. Continue reading “Louisiana HS Football Participation Increases While National Numbers Decline”