texting-and-driving-2Telephones have changed a lot since Alexander Graham Bell first spoke into one on March 10, 1876. There was the candlestick phone, rotary phone, push button phone, answering machine phones, cordless phones, mobile phones, caller Ids, call-waiting, flip phones, Blackberries and of course today Androids and I-phones that have internet access. Communication is literally at our fingertips whenever, wherever. Unfortunately, with this privilege also comes a responsibility.

Cell phones have become a huge problem for drivers. In the past, drivers were only really distracted from the road by the radio and CD players, but today we have texting, Facebook, and Snapchat to pull our eyes away from the road. Did you know that there are actually laws in Louisiana that make it illegal to text and drive?

Below are a list of some of the laws that may affect drivers and their cell phones:

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.

We all know that it is important to concentrate on the road. Unfortunately, the text message ding may be enticing to look at and respond to, but try not to. Not only can you get a large fine, but you can also get into a car accident because of a single short emoji text response.

Stay Safe during the holidays and have a Happy Thanksgiving from the Law Offices of Frank D’Amico, Jr.