Louisiana Law Enforcement Cracking Down on Texting While Driving

The next time that your cellphone beeps or vibrates while you are driving on the highway, you might want to resist the temptation to read or answer the text message, because it could cost you. Louisiana State Troopers recently announced that their officers are out in full force to enforce the law against texting while driving.

The law enforcement agency said that they will use a combination of marked and unmarked vehicles to ferret out texting drivers. The unmarked vehicle will look for evidence of texting such as swerving and drivers constantly looking down at their phone. Once the unmarked vehicle has confirmed that the driver is texting, an officer will dispatch a marked vehicle to make the traffic stop.

There have been numerous statistics published recently detailing how texting while driving is dangerous. According to distraction.gov, the U.S. Government’s website that tracks distracted driving statistics, there are several horrifying facts about texting while driving:

  • Drivers who text while behind the wheel are 23 times more likely to be involved in a car accident.
  • Sending or receiving a text message takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds-enough time to travel the length of a football field if the car is going 55 mph.
  • In 2010, 3,092 people were killed and 416,000 were injured nationwide in crashes involving a distracted driver.

Despite these alarming facts, heavy media coverage and common sense, many people haven’t gotten the message about the dangers of texting while driving and continue to send texts while behind the wheel.

Legal Consequences

In Louisiana, texting while driving is a primary offense, which means that law enforcement can pull over and ticket drivers who violate the law. Under the law drivers who are convicted of texting while driving face a fine of $175 for the first offense and $500 for every offense thereafter. If a texting driver is involved in a crash, the fine doubles. In addition, the ticket can be reported to the driver’s insurance carrier, which may result in increased premiums.

Besides the fines and possible increase of premiums, texting while driving can continue to cost the driver in the form of a lawsuit. Under Louisiana law, drivers who are injured by negligent drivers (such as those texting while driving) are entitled to recover damages to compensate them for their medical bills, pain and suffering and other losses. Those who have been injured by a distracted driver should contact a knowledgeable personal injury attorney to learn about their right to compensation.