Talking on the Phone and Texting While Driving in Louisiana

Read about Louisiana’s distracted driving laws and the costs of a violation.

Louisiana has several different distracted driving laws. There's some overlap, but generally, the laws prohibit texting and interacting with social media for all drivers, and prohibit talking on a cell phone for certain drivers and in certain locations for all drivers.

Distracted Driving Laws That Apply to All Drivers

Some of Louisiana's distracted driving laws apply only to beginner drivers. Here are the restrictions that apply to all drivers.

Texting and Social Media While Driving in Louisiana

Louisiana's distracted driving laws prohibit all drivers from operating a vehicle while using a wireless telecommunication device to:

  • write, send, or read a text-based communication, including instant messages, email, and regular text messages, or
  • access, read, or post to social media.

So, basically, this prohibition covers all kinds of text messaging and ways that a driver might interact with an electronic device.

Talking on the Phone When Driving Through School Zones

Louisiana doesn't have a general ban on phone calls while driving. However, the distracted driving law does prohibit drivers from engaging in calls while in a school zone and during posted school hours.

Exceptions to Louisiana's Distracted Driving Laws

Louisiana's distracted driving laws contain a number of exceptions. These include:

  • device use by emergency services personnel in the discharge of official duties
  • using a GPS (global positioning system), and
  • reporting emergencies and criminal activity.

Although these exceptions are written into the law, they don't come up very often.

Penalties for Distract Driving in Louisiana

For a first violation, the motorist is looking at up $500 in fines. A second or subsequent violation carries a 60-day license suspension and up to $1,000 in fines. And if a violation involves a collision, the fines are doubled.

Restrictions on Drivers with Learner's and Intermediate Licenses

Hands-free requirement. Motorists who hold a class E learner's or intermediate license are prohibited from using a cell phone while driving unless the motorist is using hands-free technology.

Exceptions. The learner's and intermediate license restriction doesn't apply to calls made to report an emergency or criminal activity.

Penalties for learner's and intermediate license violations. For a first violation, the motorist faces a maximum $500 fine. A second or subsequent violation carries up to $1,000 in fines. And if a violation involves a collision, the fines are doubled.

Texting and Phone Restrictions for Underage Drivers

No texting or phone calls. For motorists who are under the age of 18, it's illegal to text or talk on a cell phone while operating a vehicle.

Exceptions. The underage cellphone and texting ban doesn't apply to reporting emergencies and criminal activity.

Penalties for underage violations. For a first violation, the motorist faces a maximum $250 fine. A second or subsequent violation carries a 60-day license suspension and up to $500 in fines. For violations involving accidents, the fines are doubled.

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